Purchase from Canada


I (in New York) would like to purchase an amp from a Canadian audiogoner and am wondering whether the transaction will attract customs duties, etc.

In the past, I sold a piece to a Candian audiogoner and the poor guy had the speakers stuck at custom for a month and ended up having to pay something like 20% duty.  Is the same thing going to happen to me?


tropicana20 (lenny miles)

@ tropicana20   When importing stereo equipment into Canada, we are only charged a sales tax.  That would be 5% - 15% depending on the Province.  My suspicion is the U.S. would be similar.  I'm sure the info would be available on the net or with a phone call to your local tax office?     
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Canada to US, the VAT is based on the item’s country of origin.
I purchased an Audio Note dac from a Canadian dealer, he calculated the approximate tax for a UK product and shipped it. Fine. Then UPS knocks on my door and wants me to pay the VAT, cash only.
The amount was ok, but I didn’t have any cash.

I assume in a private sale such as yours, the seller will fill out a customs form and declare the value. I know it's important that the amp be described as a used item. I believe new and used sales are treated differently.

I sold a preamp to someone in France last week and UPS did all the customs paperwork. In a private sale, you can use some discretion in the declared value of the gear.

My preamp got to France and the buyer was very pleased at the shipping process. 

BTW - We used a payment system called WISE instead of the PIA PayPal.
Import duties vary by county, type of item, value, and other factors.   Canada is a close trading partner so import/export duties are generally somewhat low.  I've bought and sold several audio items from our Canadian neighbors.  It's been my experience as a buyer, no import duty was imposed.  On the other hand, the Canadian buyer has sometimes paid duties for purchased items.  There are many online services to calculate duties which you can check to be certain, including SimplyDuty.  
I've bought several used items from Canada shipped to me in USA. Never paid any extra fee except eBay and PayPal fees, and tax the system now collects, even on used items, even tax on shipping cost.

I always have the item insured based on it's value rounded up, you end up paying tax on that also.
State tax plus possible duty and brokerage would apply.

Your best bet would be to pony up for the fastest rate of shipping which in my experience nets you the lowest fees and also minimizes the chances of shipping damage.  

Have the seller mark the item clearly as used will help.  Undervalue at your own risk, I've done it but again only with the fastest shipping option being used.
I have bought from Canada on several occasions from interconnects to a Consonance Droplet 5.0 cdp at about 60 lbs to a pair of Xindak monoblocks at about 50 lbs each.  I was hit with customs on the interconnects only and that was through UPS.  When I shipped via Canada Post, no customs were charged.   
@lcherepkai  same here. Shipping via Canada Post no Duties paid but can take 7-21 days to arrive. Shipped via FedEx or UPS Duties always collected.
I've both shipped and received audio to and from Canada, so many variables. Small items via Canada Post, USPS, no duty. UPS and Fedex, yes there are duty charges, duty charges variable depending on duty codes. Used or new matters, can adjust declared used price to whatever buyer and seller feel comfortable with, be advised this could cause issues. I've not had any thus far. Fedex and UPS have guaranteed shipping dates, USPS and Canada Post can be problematic, therefore, occasionally sit in customs for many days.
One thing to be aware of with Canada Post.  They have no ability to track your shipment once it crosses into the U.S.  You can pay extra for tracking but............
Once the package has cleared customs in Canada, you can use USPS, with the same tracking number as Canada Post, to track in the US.
Yes - you will have to pay duties in the US when importing from Canada. The seller can declare a lower value for the amp (I believe US$500 is the limit), but that's a risk if it gets lost or damaged in transit and you have to file a claim. If you have to return the amp for whatever reason, you will end up paying duties or have to declare little or no value for the amp - keep that in mind. I have learned my lesson and will not be buying high end audio equipment from Canada - ever.
I have bought several items from Canadian dealers and zero duty. No duty, duty duty. No tax….

You're spreading miss information. No wonder you'll never buy equipment from Canada - ever. So if something is manufactured in Canada, and is duty free, you'll still never, ever, ever, buy from Canada, hmmmmm.

Guess what - the exact same rules apply to the US as well, Canada is no different.

Depending on where the item is manufactured, and what the item is, you may be subjected to paying duties, and the rates vary by exporting country, or agreements (see below USMCA).

If you send something back to Canada from the US, the importer pays the duties (if applicable). Not the guy from the US sending it back.

Do you know what USMCA is (old NAFTA)? Even within this agreement, there are defined rules, but basically if something is manufactured in either country, the other country doesn't pay duty (free trade agreement), or could be a reduced duty rate.
golfnutz is correct. Percentage of item's declared value is contained within tariff codes for each country. I doubt anyone is getting any electronic equipment from Canada duty free (exception of smaller items via Canada post, USPS). The US purchaser may not see a duty because the exporter paid it, just as I do when shipping to Canada. Bigkidz is correct, I've shipped my Coincident amp and preamp back to Canada for upgrades a number of times, always marked return for warranty repair. I believe Israel avoids or minimizes duties in doing this. Upon shipping units back via UPS or Fedex I always pay duty. I also order lots of stuff from Partsconnexion, can't recall ever paying duty via Canada Post/USPS,
I reside in Canada and have sold several pieces of audio equipment to US buyers.Here's the play list:1.Use Canada Post and yes you can request a tracking # for a nominal fee.Delivery time is 7 to 10 business days.Always include the buyers ph# on the shipping label.
2.There is no duty,tax or other extraneous charges imposed by the US government to the buyer if the value is less than $800.
3.The value of the item must be declared by the seller on a Customs form at the time of shipping.If you devalue the item and it is damaged in transit your claim will be based on the declared value.If you require more detailed information flip me a pm


Just to add some additional information.

Depending on the shipping method, tracking is included. Otherwise, you could pay additional fees for tracking.

If you have tracking, you should try using the destinations national postal service to track the package using Canada Post’s tracking number.

This is the message Canada Post shows when shipping international packages. This is the reason for mentioning the above.

"Your item has arrived in the country you sent it to and has been accepted by the destination post.

We rely on local postal services to share tracking information. There is no further tracking information available for this item yet".

Insurance for Canada Post shipments are a maximum of $1000 CAD.

I just shipped something overseas (Xpresspost), and it wouldn’t allow me to add additional insurance over the $100 that Canada Post defaults to. If I used Surface shipping (2-3 months), it would allow additional insurance, or if I used Priority (2 - 5 days, can’t remember exactly), it would also allow extra insurance. The shipment went via EMS, which is owned by Canada Post.