Bringing Heady into Quebec and back into US

Discussion in 'Canada' started by jp_4, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. jp_4

    jp_4 Initiate (35) Jan 3, 2017 New Jersey

    Apologies if this question has been asked. I saw similar questions, but not this exact one.

    My wife and I are visiting friends in Montreal from Fri-Sun. Stopping at Alchemist on the way up for at least 2 cases of beer (maybe more). From what I understand, you can take one case per adult duty-free. Most of, if not all, the beer is coming back with us to the US (we may break open a four pack, but that's it). Will I have to pay any tax? Also, will I get taxed coming back to the states even though it was purchased in the states?

  2. byronic

    byronic Champion (873) Nov 8, 2013 Ontario (Canada)

    As a visitor to Canada I would encourage you to check the CBSA website.

    Although the Alcoholic beverages portion appears to not load in it's data, based on an archived page the limit appears to be 8.5L/person. Any amount above that you would pay taxes on.

    Also please note that the restrictions in Quebec could limit you to another 9L/person on top of the duty free portion.

    Maybe someone can chime in from personal experience?
    #2 byronic, Jan 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  3. MCBanjoMike

    MCBanjoMike Initiate (104) Aug 7, 2014 Quebec (Canada)

    A full case of Heady is more beer than one person can bring back, whether they pay taxes on it or not. You can get 8.5L per person duty free if you are out of the country for 48 hours, otherwise you've gotta pay. That's about 17 cans worth. Either way, the most you can possibly bring back is 9L per person, anything over that you'll have to give up. It's totally worth it to pay the duty on beer from the Alchemist, it isn't that much on top of the cost of the beer (which is super reasonable to begin with). If they have The Crusher in stock, make sure to get some! It might be my new favorite beer.
  4. jp_4

    jp_4 Initiate (35) Jan 3, 2017 New Jersey

    Thank you guys..

    It looks like based on the CBSA website, you are able to bring in 8.5L of beer duty-free. I don't see anything about a 9L total limit per person? Seems kind of strange that they would only allow you to bring 0.5L more that they can tax you on? Are you sure it's not an additional 9L?
  5. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Disciple (350) Oct 24, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)

    The 9L is an excess amount you are allowed ON TOP OF the 8.5L duty free after 48hrs. So for a day trip for instance you can only bring back a total of 9L per person and pay tax on it, not duty free on any trip less than 48hrs. The tax is not much.

    I'm Canadian though, so as an American ymmv. I have even heard different border guards say different things.

    As an American, the duty free thing doesn't really apply to you the same way coming into Canada. In BC I'm pretty sure they limit it to a case for foreign visitors, but I also don't think they really care, the same way the American guards never care how much beer I'm bringing into the US.

    I think you would be better off to get a mailbox rental near the VT border and leave it there while you are in Canada, then the limit won't matter.
    Erik-P likes this.
  6. hoser

    hoser Aspirant (270) Feb 17, 2003 Alberta (Canada)

    They have never cared at the border if you say the product is American and you are American they won't do anything or at least that is the way it has worked for me as Canadian with Canadian products.

    Just make sure say it is for personal consumption if asked and keep your receipts. The last time I did this was the Vermont/Quebec border.
    Coronaeus likes this.
  7. rejtable

    rejtable Initiate (62) Apr 20, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    You have two distinct issues with two different (well three really since the province of quebec is in play a bit) jurisdictions:

    1. As an American coming into Canada: some have noted here that you may not have problems, but I'd contact CBSA just to make sure. You will have to declare entering Canada that you are carrying alcohol. I have no idea what the CBSA rules are for this, I'm not an agent, I don't even play one on TV.
    2. As an American who visited Canada returning to the USA: this you'd have to ask of your own border services. I assume the US has personal limits and whatnot in the same way Canada does, but unless you are buying beer while in Québec (not a bad idea, btw! :wink:), your main issue will be the US stock you started with. You'll want to be sure that it's understood that what you are bringing back was originally bought in the USA. You'd certainly like to hope that a border agent wouldn't try and fight with you about the origins of Alchemist beer, but just to be sure you'd be best to keep your receipts, as others have noted.
  8. jp_4

    jp_4 Initiate (35) Jan 3, 2017 New Jersey

    Awesome guys, thanks so much. Very helpful.

    BTW - what Quebec beers should I pick up/any Montreal bar rec's? Been to Montreal about 15 times but usually with my guy friends in our late teens-early 20s to the pub scene. Married now and can afford some nicer beers. Hahaha. On that note, I enjoyed a Peche Mortel recently. Very nice.
  9. MacCruiskeen

    MacCruiskeen Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2016 Massachusetts

    Hi, I will be in the same position as OP this weekend (getting a lot of VT beers on the way to Canada and then coming back to the US). OP, how did you get on? Did you have to pay taxes on the excess amounts? Or did you not declare you had any?
  10. Frudel

    Frudel Disciple (354) Oct 3, 2016 Quebec (Canada)

    It would be cool to have an update of what happened? I'm quite curious to see how it is working the other way around!
  11. MacCruiskeen

    MacCruiskeen Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2016 Massachusetts

    We had about 1.5 cases of Alchemist and one bottle of Canadian beer. We only declared the one bottle of Canadian beer going back into the US and didn't mention the Alchemist.
    Frudel likes this.
  12. Frudel

    Frudel Disciple (354) Oct 3, 2016 Quebec (Canada)

    Thanks! :slight_smile:
  13. flat_lander

    flat_lander Devotee (446) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    I've looked over some threads on this subject, and this one seems to be the closest, so figured I'd bump it and get any updated opinions. Sorry if this has been discussed ad nauseam or there's a better place to post this...

    Buddy is leaving MA on Wed and headed to Ottawa via VT and Quebec, then exiting Canada via Ontario. What can I say, he's been in MA for a week and has hit up TH, Trillium, and several shops. He's amassed a small arsenal of probably 60 cans (all 16 oz), 3 500ml bottles, and 2 750 ml bottles. And he still hasn't hit Alchemist :astonished:. They'll be in Canada more than 48 hours, and this is for consumption back in the US. No trading, or secondary, etc. Just sharing with friends. It sounds like at best he's honest and they leave him alone. Middle of the road is he is taxed. Worst case scenario some is confiscated. Any clue what will happen here? There will be 2 adults of drinking age in the car. From what I've read he's way over limits...

    Also, from what I've read, the best advice is to be honest, save receipts, be clear it's for personal consumption only, and that it was all purchased in US. Thanks for any other help or opinions!
  14. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Poo-Bah (1,758) Mar 7, 2013 Quebec (Canada)

    That's what'll happen. I doubt they won't at least tax him, that's a lot of beer.

    For both countries, I would imagine he will get the run-around when he comes back into the states as well regardless of whether it was bought and paid for in the states or not.

    Also, as far as I know, the 48 hour thing only applies to Canadians visiting the states. Even still, that is more than double the amount you are allowed with the 48 hours increase to your allowable quantity.
    flat_lander likes this.
  15. flat_lander

    flat_lander Devotee (446) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Thanks for responding. The taxing is happening obviously, but they're likely to confiscate too? He does have all of his receipts. And yes, it's a lot of delicious, delicious beer that none of us has access to. What is the tax rate?

    Regardless of what happens here, I'll update for the good of the order.
  16. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Poo-Bah (1,758) Mar 7, 2013 Quebec (Canada)

    No idea as I've never had trouble (but with less beer). The tax in QC is around 15% I'm pretty sure, and you might have to pay some sort of import few or something but I don't know. It is entirely up to whatever border guard you get. Just be friendly and up front and you should be fine. Please update this thread with news about what happened as I'm sure people would be curious to know.
    flat_lander likes this.
  17. flat_lander

    flat_lander Devotee (446) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Absolutely. We just talked. The plan is friendliness, transparency, have all receipts on hand, be clear it's for personal consumption if asked, and be ready to pay some taxes. They go across tomorrow and return to the States next week. I'll update both legs.
    TheDoctor likes this.
  18. rejtable

    rejtable Initiate (62) Apr 20, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    I have no idea what rules, if any, apply to USA citizens coming INTO Canada. Canadian Border Services used to have a really good response time for questions if you go to their site and ask this scenario.

    IFIFIFIFIF a USA citizen has to follow the same rules that apply to Canadians (i.e. taxation/duties/limits) then it's reasonably straightforward. The amount you pay and the limits vary by point of entry though. For the costs there are ALWAYS three components to the payment calculation:

    1. Duty: does not vary by point of entry. I forget the exact formula, but it's a per litre amount. Typically just a few dollars.
    2. Taxes: varies by province of entry. I assume QC is 13%.
    3. "Provincial Markup": varies by province of entry. Again, I forget the exact amounts, but IIRC correctly in QC it is 67cents per litre (Ontario is around 80cents again IIRC).

    NEVER CROSS INTO New Brunswick if you are over the limit. Their provincial markup is effectively 90% of the VALUE of your beer. So, the total you pay in NB to cross if you are over the limit typically works out to 100% of the value of your purchase. It's insane.

    Not having receipts isn't ideal, but in my experience as long as you are honest in your attempt to measure the value you'll be fine.

    The bigger issue for your friend could be the volume limits. I can't recall the total allowed, but my recollection is Québec is something around 15-20L per person. You get the first 8.5L, and then a max of something like 10 more L. Sounds like your buddy is WAY over that. Whatever the limit, if you go over, they can confiscate it I believe. The limit is WAY bigger in Ontario, something like 50-60L.

    The documents describing this are available online with some snooping.

    But again, none of this may apply to your USA friend. He/She should send an email to CBSA for clarification.

    And then what happens when your friend crosses BACK into the USA is a whole other matter for your own government.
    TheDoctor and flat_lander like this.
  19. flat_lander

    flat_lander Devotee (446) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    He doubled down and hit Alchemist before crossing the border! Something like 6 flats of tallboys and a few bottles total and he had to pay $36 in taxes. Apparently there's a funny story to boot.
  20. rejtable

    rejtable Initiate (62) Apr 20, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    I'd be curious to hear what the situation was at the border. I'm frankly surprised that Americans entering Canada with USA beer have to pay taxes, but that's always been an unknown, so it would be awesome if you could circle back to this and tell us what happened to your friend.

    And funny stories are always welcomed!!!
    flat_lander likes this.
  21. MarkMcElman

    MarkMcElman Initiate (29) Apr 12, 2018 New Brunswick (Canada)

    A little off topic, but here's my approach on the craft beer / volume front, which I used for Heady and other Alchemist brews last summer.

    I bought 24 tallboy cans at the Alchemist and then proceeded to drink a couple at the hotel. I also purchased one mega-sized can of Foster's at a gas station or whatever. The interaction at the boarder then went something like this:

    Boarder & Customs Officer: "Sir, do you have any alcohol purchased while in the United States?"

    Me: "Yes, I have 23 cans of beer including one large can of imported beer. The other 22 are all American."

    I then proceed to answer any further questions truthfully and pay any duty assessed. Usually there are no further questions.
  22. flat_lander

    flat_lander Devotee (446) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    All beer (and friend) made it back home safe and sound. He crossed at a small crossing from VT into Quebec. He had 5 or 6 cases of talls, and a number of bottles. He paid $36 in taxes to the Canadians. They were friendly, cordial, and mildly annoyed by having to do the math on it with 16 oz cans, and bottles ranging from 355, 500, and 750 mls. When looking over the receipts they were surprised at the cost of some of the beer. He laughed and told them those were the cheap ones. All in all, a positive interaction. Came back in via Ontario and was waived right through. Americans didn't even bother asking to see it. Needless to say, I drank some pretty great beer yesterday for the 4th! Thanks to all for their time and advice!