Shipping from the U.S. to Canada
Do you have goods that you want to import to Canada from the U.S.? While importing items from the U.S. is, for the most part, straightforward, there are some issues that may arise. This is more so when you get to the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) and the Canada Border Service Agency’s (CBSA) regulations.
Although the free-trade agreement between the two countries has improved cross-border trade and eliminated duties and tariffs on many goods produced domestically in the continent, there are some fees and taxes still imposed on shipments entering Canada. There is also a lot of paperwork you have to deal with to avoid issues with the CBSA. With all this in mind, you will be in better hands working with a transportation service. The transportation service will make your work easier by taking care of everything. Even so, there are a couple of things you still need to know about shipping from the U.S. to Canada.
Before Shipping to Canada
When shipping from the U.S. to Canada, you need to remember five very important border clearance factors.
- Get a business number
All businesses or commercial importers are required to get a business number before shipping their goods. These business numbers are issued by the CRA for what is known as import/export account. It is free to get this account.
- Origin of the goods you are importing
It is required to identify as well as provide proof of the country from which the goods you wish to import to Canada are originating from. If the item you are shipping to Canada was shipped to the U.S. for you from the United Kingdom, the country of origin, in this case, will be the U.K.
- Make sure the goods you are shipping are permitted in Canada
Not all products that are used in the U.S. are allowable in Canada. Some of the prohibited products include white phosphorous matches, mattresses, live animals, second-hand automobiles, and perishable goods. The CBSA has a complete list of the products that are prohibited from being imported into Canada.
As aforementioned, most of the goods that get into Canada from the U.S. are subject to provincial and federal taxes. On the federal level, there is a 5% GST (Goods and Services Tax) that is applied to goods that are sold in Canada for domestic consumption. Taxes at the provincial level vary. Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is applied in provinces like Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Labrador. The HST combines GST with the provincial tax rates. Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Quebec, and Manitoba levy a provincial sales tax on top of the GST, which ranges from 5 to 10 percent. All goods that are imported have to be reported to the CBSA to prevent fines, delays, and shipment seizures.
- Hold on to records of the imports
The CBSA advises that you retain all the records of the goods you import into Canada for 6 years. This should include records of the quantities you received, amounts paid, country of origin, product, vendor, and other relevant information.
Mitigating Shipping Risks
The most important thing you need to do is ensure all paperwork that the CBSA requires is properly and thoroughly prepared. Shortcuts, when preparing these documents, will only lead to problems. In most cases, preparing these documents requires the expertise of a logistics consultant as well as a customs broker.
Your paperwork should give the following information to the CBSA:
- What you are importing, and what is the real value of each of those items.
- Reason for shipping the products into Canada
- A 10-digit tariff classification number for every item you are importing. You also need to declare the rate of duty for the goods.
- Method of shipping: You should talk to your preferred transportation company about the method of shipping they will use. You also need to understand all the cross-border requirements.
Do you need help importing commercial goods into Canada from the U.S.? Give us a call. We are one of the most sought after logistics, distribution and warehousing experts in Toronto, Canada. We are here to help you get your goods imported on time and hassle-free.