Border Towns — Online shopping can present several challenges

Many Canadians who shop online need to cross the border to pick up their parcels.

Canadian shoppers are crossing the border in increasing numbers to take advantage of U.S. mail outlets offering parcel pick-up service.

Many U.S.-based online shopping websites don’t ship to Canada, and those that do often charge a hefty premium to send parcels north of the 49th parallel, says Samantha Wallace with TSB Shipping Plus in Point Roberts, Washington.

Located just a few blocks south of the Point Roberts border crossing, TSB Shipping Plus has close to 50,000 Canadians in their customer database.

With the increase in popularity of online shopping, so too has cross-border business increased at the U.S. mail outlet.

“About 85 per cent of our business are Canadians coming down to pick up parcels they’ve ordered, usually from online,” Wallace says.

Canadians still have to pay tax and duty on purchases made online and picked up in the U.S., she adds, but while there are no personal exemptions for stays of less than 24 hours, often the amount of duty and taxes charged is so small it’s not worth the paper work for border officials.

“You have to declare what you bring back, but they usually don’t charge you tax if it’s something small,” says Wallace.

However, those who don’t declare their mailed goods could face hefty fines, and even criminal prosecution.

“If you do not declare goods, or if you falsely declare them, border services officers may seize the goods,” says Canadian Border Services Agency spokesperson Maria Ivancic. “Smuggling, undervaluation and other Customs Act offenses may lead to seizure and/or prosecution in a court of law.”

If goods are seized, you may lose the goods permanently or the CBSA may impose a penalty that ranges from 25 to 80 per cent of the value of the seized goods. The Customs Act also gives border services officers the authority to seize all vehicles that were used to import goods unlawfully.

For Canadians returning from stays in the U.S. of 24 hours or more, $200 worth of goods are allowed to be imported duty and tax free. However, if the amount being imported exceeds $200, the duty and taxes are applicable on the entire amount of the imported goods.

Canadians returning from stays in the U.S. of 48 hours or more have a personal exemption of $800 worth of imported goods, with duty and taxes charged on the amount of goods above $800.

• The CBSA website has a duty and taxes estimator which allows you to determine the amount of duty and taxes you may have to pay on your imported goods before you even leave home:

— Robert Mangelsdorf, South Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Police investigation underway at Cloverdale townhouse complex

Officers were in the 19000-block of 64th Avenue – near the Langley-Surrey border – Thursday evening

Langley man arrested in connection with $264,000 drug and cash bust in Grand Prairie

Police have warrants out for Christine Emes and Christopher Gilliat, also from Langley

PHOTOS: Latest addition to Mural Walk in downtown Langley a ‘showstopper’

Fort Langley artist Alex Stewart completed the artwork in two days

An unofficial contest to name a nameless Langley City park comes up with a winner

Councillor Nathan Pachal thought the ‘lonely’ mini-park deserved a name

One person treated for smoke inhalation after Langley fire

Township firefighters were called to Deer Creek Estates Wednesday night

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

Wind warning for White Rock, South Surrey

Gusts up to 90 km/h expected from Richmond to Langley Friday (Sept. 25) morning

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Most Read