Paying duty and taxes

The Canada Border Services Agency collects duty and taxes on imported goods, on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Duty and taxes

What are duty and taxes?

Duty is a tariff payable on a good imported to Canada. Rates of Duty are established by the Department of Finance Canada and can vary significantly from one trade agreement to another.

No duty is payable on goods imported for personal use, if it is marked as "made in Canada, the USA, or Mexico", or if there is no marking or labelling indicating that it was made somewhere other than Canada, the USA, or Mexico.

More information on duties payable on all goods imported into Canada is provided in the Customs Tariff.

Most imported goods are also subject to the Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or, in certain provinces and territories, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

Personal exemption limits

Are you eligible for a personal exemption?

When you return to Canada, you may qualify for a personal exemption. This allows you to bring goods of a certain value into the country without paying regular duty and taxes, except for a minimum duty that may apply to some tobacco products.

The length of your absence from Canada determines the amount of goods you can bring back, without paying any duties.

You are eligible for a personal exemption if you are one of the following:

  • A Canadian resident returning from a trip outside Canada.
  • A former resident of Canada returning to live in this country.
  • A temporary resident of Canada returning from a trip outside Canada.

Even young children and infants are entitled to a personal exemption. As a parent or guardian, you can make a declaration to the CBSA for a child as long as the goods you are declaring are for the child's use.

For more detailed explanations of what constitutes a personal exemption, consult I Declare.

Traveller personal exemption limits effective June 1, 2012
Less than 24 hours Personal exemptions do not apply to same-day cross-border shoppers.
24 hours or more Up to CAN$200 – Alcohol and tobacco cannot be claimed. Goods must be in your possession at time of entry to Canada. If the value of the goods you have purchased abroad exceeds $200 after a 24 hour absence, duty and taxes are applicable on the entire amount of the imported goods.
48 hours or more Up to CAN$800 – May include alcohol and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits set by provincial or territorial authorities. Goods must be in your possession at time of entry to Canada. Travellers absent for periods of 48 hours or more will have the applicable exemption level credited against the total value of goods.
7 days or more Up to CAN$800 – May include alcohol and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits set by provincial or territorial authorities. For the seven-day exemption, goods may be in your possession at time of entry to Canada but are also permitted to follow entry to Canada (such as via courier, mail or delivery agency), except alcohol and tobacco products, which must be in your possession. All the goods will qualify for duty- and tax-free entry if they are declared at the initial return to Canada.
Alcohol and tobacco limits

Alcohol and tobacco limits

Alcoholic beverage limits
(While bottle sizes vary, the amounts listed are fixed.)
Product Metric Imperial Estimates
Wine Up to 1.5 litres Up to 53 fluid ounces Two 750 ml bottles of wine.
Alcoholic Beverages Up to 1.14 litres Up to 40 fluid ounces One large standard bottle of liquor
Beer or Ale Up to 8.5 litres Up to 287 fluid ounces Approximately 24 cans or bottles (355 ml each) of beer or ale.
You are allowed to import only one of the amounts listed in the table free of duty and taxes, as part of your personal exemption.
Tobacco product limits
Cigarettes 200 cigarettes
Cigars 50 cigars
Tobacco 200 grams of manufactured tobacco
Tobacco sticks 200 tobacco sticks

If you bring in more than your personal exemption, you will have to pay regular assessments on the excess amount. These regular assessments can include duty and taxes, as well as provincial or territorial fees. When they calculate the amounts owing, border services officers will give an allowance for products that have an excise stamp “DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTÉ.

If you are 18 years of age or over, you are allowed to bring in all of the amounts listed in the table into Canada free of duty and taxes within your personal exemption.

If you include cigarettes, tobacco sticks or manufactured tobacco in your personal exemption, a partial exemption only may apply. You will have to pay a special duty on these products unless they have an excise stamp "DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTÉ." You will find Canadian-made products sold at duty-free shops marked this way. You can speed up your clearance by having your tobacco products available for inspection when you arrive.

For further details on bringing back tobacco products, consult I Declare - Tobacco products.

Duty and Taxes Estimator

Using our Duty and Taxes Estimator

The CBSA's Duty and Taxes Estimator provides an estimate only and applies strictly to goods imported for personal use. The final amount of applicable duties and taxes may vary from the estimate and will be determined by a border services officer when you arrive at the border.

It is important to note that personal exemptions, tariff classification, applicable rates of duty and taxes and other circumstances that may affect the amount of duties and taxes owed on imported goods are subject to change from time to time, depending on the applicable legislation, regulations and policies.

Where specific products within a category of goods have different rates of duty, the highest rate has been used to produce the estimate. 

Use the Duty and Taxes Estimator.

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