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Know the border rules for your U.S. Thanksgiving trip

OTTAWA — Despite the fabulous shopping deals being offered by Canadian retailers this weekend, the Canadian Border Services Agency is still expecting heavy volumes of Black Friday shoppers heading south and returning at its border crossings.

And the agency has some tips to make the crossing as smooth as possible, thereby helping to reduce border wait times.

• Border wait times for land borders are available at cbsa.gc.ca, or follow us on Twitter for hourly border wait time updates at BWT_CBSA.

• Ensure that you have proper identification for yourself and everyone in the vehicle readily available.

• Turn off radios and cellphones when approaching the inspection booths, roll down your window, remove sunglasses and speak directly to the border services officer.

• Stop at the stop sign when entering a primary lane. The driver of the vehicle should concentrate on driving while a passenger holds the identification until it is required to be presented to the officer.

• Declare all purchases made and have your receipts readily available. If possible, provide a total sum of all goods purchased for each person in the vehicle.

• Do not attempt to undervalue or not declare your goods — the consequences can be significant and it’s not worth the risk.

• Know your personal exemptions.

• After being away for less than 24 hours: There is no personal exemption for stays less than 24 hours.

• After each absence of 24 hours or more: You can claim up to C$200 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes. You must have the goods with you when you arrive in Canada, and you cannot include tobacco products or alcoholic beverages in this exemption. If the goods you bring in are worth more than C$200 in total, you cannot claim this exemption. Instead, you have to pay full duty and taxes on all goods you bring in.

• After each absence of 48 hours or more: You can claim up to C$800 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes. You must have the goods with you when you arrive in Canada. Although you can include some tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco.

• After each absence of seven days or more : You can claim up to C$800 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes. Although you can include some tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco. With the exception of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, you do not need to have the goods with you when you arrive.

» Canadian Border Services Agency

• What is duty? — Duty is a tax on the import and export of specific goods, imposed to generate revenue and/or to protect Canadian industries.

• Where does the money go?

— All duties collected are submitted to the Crown.

•What can I expect to pay duty on? — Duty rates vary depending on the commodity and country of origin. In general, there is no duty under the North American Free Trade Agreement for goods manufactured in NorthAmerica; however, HST or GST and/or PST may be applicable when there are no personal exemption entitlements.

• How can I pay my duties and taxes owed? — You can pay by cash, traveller's cheque, Visa, American Express or MasterCard. The Canada Border Services Agency also accepts debit cards at most offices. If an amount is no more than $2,500, you can sometimes pay by personal cheque. A border services officer will give you a receipt showing the calculations and amount you paid.

• What is a regular duty rate? — If you do not qualify for a personal exemption, or if you exceed your exemption limit, you will have to pay the GST/HST, as well as any duty or other tax or assessment that applies on the excess amount. Duty rates vary according to the goods you are importing and the country where the goods were made. You may also have to pay the PST if you live in a province where the CBSA has an agreement to collect the tax and you return to Canada through that province.

• Some commonly imported goods and their duty rates:

• Clothing: 16-18 per cent

• Toys, gaming consoles and games: duty free

• Wheeled toys (tricycles, pedal cars): eight per cent

• Footwear: 16-20 per cent

• Tires (vehicles): 6.5 per cent (Note: only new tires are permitted into Canada.)

• Tires (bicycles, motorcycles): duty free

• Car parts: six to eight per cent

• Televisions: six per cent

• Books: duty free

• Furniture (wood, plastic, upholstered): 9.5 per cent

• Computers and peripherals: duty free

• iPads and tablets: duty free

•Digital cameras and camcorders: duty free

• Stereos: duty free

• Blackberries, iPhones, cellphones: duty free

• Jewelry: 8.5 per cent

• Christmas decorations: duty free

• Linens (bed and table): 17-18 per cent

• Linens (quilts and comforters): 14 per cent

• DVDs: six per cent

• Large appliances (e.g. washers, dryers, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, stoves, ranges): eight per cent

» Note: These rates valid as of Nov. 6, and subject to change.

» Canadian Border Services Agency

• Make sure the goods you’re buying are permitted in Canada. Here’s a link for the consumer products Health Canada regulates in Canada:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/cons/ consumer_prod-consommation-eng.php

• More general travel tips:

http://www.cbsa.gc.ca/travel-voyage/ifcrc-rpcrc-eng.html

• The CBSA has developed a tool to provide travellers with an estimate of the duties and taxes owing on goods imported for personal use. For some indication of the duty rates that might apply to your purchases, you can access this tool on the CBSA website at: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/dte-acl/est- cal-eng.html.

» Canadian Border Services Agency

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 22, 2012

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OTTAWA — Despite the fabulous shopping deals being offered by Canadian retailers this weekend, the Canadian Border Services Agency is still expecting heavy volumes of Black Friday shoppers heading south and returning at its border crossings.

And the agency has some tips to make the crossing as smooth as possible, thereby helping to reduce border wait times.

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OTTAWA — Despite the fabulous shopping deals being offered by Canadian retailers this weekend, the Canadian Border Services Agency is still expecting heavy volumes of Black Friday shoppers heading south and returning at its border crossings.

And the agency has some tips to make the crossing as smooth as possible, thereby helping to reduce border wait times.

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