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Special delivery: Dad charged $60 to receive gifts
A Penticton, B.C., father said he was shocked to have to pay $60.21 in taxes and duty on presents he received for his children from relatives in the U.S.
Gordon wrote Steele on Your Side to say that a postman delivered the parcel around Christmas time, and asked for the money. He asked the postman to take the parcel back to the post office while he investigated.
Gordon contacted Canada Border Services, who told him that there is a $60 limit on gifts, and anything over that amount is subject to taxes and duty.
He was taken aback. Gordon said he's received presents for his children for years from the U.S. and didn't remember every having to pay tax and duty on anything coming to his house.
He wrote: "I don't know if this is new or not, but I think the public should be aware that our Government is putting a limit on what we can receive as a gift, before they want their share of it. Isn't that just like the Grinch?"
According to the CBSA, a gift sent by a friend or family member abroad to a person in Canada is exempt from duties and taxes as long as the gift is worth $60 or less.
Related: CBSA Gifts Policy
Alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and advertising material do not qualify for this gift exemption.
"The declaration should clearly identify the goods as a gift and should include a gift card or tag to avoid any misunderstanding. For gifts worth more than $60, you have to pay duties and taxes on the amount over the $60 exemption."
So if you receive a present from overseas worth $100, only $60 of the gift's value qualifies for the exemption, and you have to pay duties and taxes for the remaining $40.
In Gordon's case, the value of the presents was estimated at $419.00 US. With an exchange rate of 1.0285, his presents totaled $430.94 CAD, and were subject to $51.71 in GST and HST. There was also a handling fee of $8.50 added onto the parcel.
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