Personal Imports


Personal Imports

Pacific Customs Brokers can help with the importation of your personal goods. Whether you are looking to import a small appliance, furniture, machinery or a recreational vehicle such as a car, boat or airplane, our customs specialists have the directed expertise to handle your non-commercial goods.

Personal goods do not include personal effects. CBSA requires the owner of the goods to report them in person with the details and reason for reporting to allow for duty and tax exemptions. Examples of personal effects include: bequests, goods returning with former residents, seasonal residents and settlers.

In order to assist you in the clearance of your personal imports, we will need the following information:

  1. Written authorization to represent you with Customs in the form of a Power of Attorney, account setup and/or payment arrangements for duties and taxes.
  2. A complete list describing each item being imported in layman's terms.
  3. The country of manufacture for each item being imported.
  4. The value of each item stated at current market value stated in the currency used for valuation.
  5. Carrier information and crossing information.

If you are importing a commercial or a recreational vehicle from the United States or another country into Canada, we can assist you with your next vehicle move. Our customs specialist can guide you on how to you avoid having your vehicle refused entry, delays at the border, and possible penalties with Canada Border Services Agency.

To learn more about our vehicle shipping services or to get a quote visit: Vehicle Shipping Services.

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Duties & Taxes

Most personal shipments are subject to the following government charges:

  • Federal Government - Goods and Services Tax (GST): This is a 5% tax on most items purchased outside of Canada.
  • Provincial Government - Provincial Sales Tax (PST): This charge applies to certain items and will vary depending on the province where the goods enter Canada.
  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST): Some provinces participate in a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) program. The HST is a blend of both the Provincial Sales Tax and Goods and Services Tax depending on the province.
  • Duty Charges: This charge will vary based on the nature of the goods and the country the goods were manufactured in.
  • Excise Tax: Both the federal and provincial governments impose excise taxes on goods such as cigarettes, gasoline, alcohol, and vehicles with air conditioners.
    • Imposition of Excise Tax on Fuel-inefficient Vehicles:

      An excise tax of $100 is payable for vehicles with air conditioning that are being imported into Canada. This tax is payable to CBSA at the border when the vehicle is permanently imported into Canada. There is also a Excise tax (Green Levy) on fuel inefficient cars (including station wagons, vans, and sport utility vehicles) designed primarily for use as passenger vehicles, but not including pickup trucks, vans equipped to accommodate 10 or more passengers, ambulances and hearses, in accordance with the vehicle's fuel-efficiency rating.

      A listing of vehicles and associated fuel-efficiency ratings can be found at the following Natural Resources Canada webpage: Fuel Consumption Ratings

      GST is also paid at the border at the time of import. Provincial taxes are assessed at the time of vehicle licensing. For more information on importing a vehicle into Canada visit the Registrar of Imported Vehicles website.

Personal Effects

When importing your personal and household effects into Canada, in addition to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada might be involved with the process.

Individuals should declare their own personal shipments when possible using a Form B4, Personal Effects Accounting Document (PDF). CBSA likes taking the opportunity to interview returning residents and settlers to determine admissibility. Customs brokers are not authorized to present the initial Form B4, Personal Effects Accounting Document, but may be able to assist with goods to follow declarations after the initial Form B4, Personal Effects Accounting Document has been presented.

In order to comply with Canada Customs regulations, you will be required to supply the following information.

If you are entering Canada with the intention of establishing, for the first time, a residence for a period of not less than 12 months; or coming to Canada for temporary employment for a period of more than 36 months you can import your personal and household effects free of duty and taxes if you owned, possessed and used them before you arrived in Canada.

However, if you have lived in Canada before, the conditions under which you can import your personal and household effects may be those that apply to a returning or former Canadian resident. For more information consult the CBSA publication - Immigrating or Returning to Live in Canada

Before arriving in Canada, you should prepare two copies of a list (preferably typewritten) of all the goods you intend to bring into Canada as part of your personal effects. Include the value, make, model, and serial number (when applicable).

Divide the list into two sections. In the first, list the goods you are bringing with you; in the second, list the goods to follow. Goods that arrive later will only qualify for duty- and tax-free importation under your entitlement as a settler, if they are on your original list.

Learn more at: Settling in Canada

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