Crossing border from Vermont

Discussion in 'Canada' started by pirate99gs, Nov 30, 2016.

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  1. pirate99gs

    pirate99gs Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2014 Canada (QC)

    I'm heading to Vermont this Friday for the day, and was wondering about people's experiences at the Canadian border for the return trip. Normally I cross at one of the closer (smaller) borders and pay the taxes, and was hypothesizing if crossing at a larger border if the customs agents would be less inclined to charge the taxes. (hey, one can dream).

  2. Jerk_Store

    Jerk_Store Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2015 Canada (QC)

    I always declare what I'm bringing back and pay whatever it is. Sometimes they let me go through without paying, sometimes not. Still worth it regardless :wink:
  3. VincentGD01

    VincentGD01 Aspirant (236) Jan 24, 2016 Canada (QC)

    I've been there a dozen of times and they never let me go through without paying taxes. I've heard it happens sometimes but prepare your checks and your money! Pretty sure that's what gonna happen sadly :wink:
  4. Jimski123

    Jimski123 Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2013 Tennessee

    How much are the taxes?
  5. VincentGD01

    VincentGD01 Aspirant (236) Jan 24, 2016 Canada (QC)

    Usually around 25℅ of the total amount you paid
  6. mtomlins

    mtomlins Pooh-Bah (1,561) Mar 12, 2010 Canada (ON)

    I think whether you get stopped has less to do with the size of the border crossing and more to do with the general mood of the agent you are dealing with at the time. It's a pure craps shoot. I drove right through by myself once with 4 cases, no problem. The next time, with one case between 2 adults, I got searched (albeit a quick one right there at the gate).

    I think the bigger predictor is the province you are entering; I always try to come back through ON, but I am guessing that's not an option for you.
    Jerk_Store and byronic like this.
  7. Seany

    Seany Zealot (571) Sep 27, 2005 Canada (QC)

    I have used all 4 crossings between lake Champlain and Champlain/St Bernard de Lacolle many times and have noticed no trends as others have said. I declare and have to pay about 80% of the time. Usually about 35% taxes.
  8. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Savant (1,187) Oct 24, 2012 Canada (BC)

    I went twice in January this year, so traffic wasn't busy at all.

    Crossing the first time for just a day trip at the big crossing coming back, I got a huge warning about being over about 200ml, not kidding. They said they could take my Nexus away even! Do NOT go over the max excess allowed, which is 9L. You don't get the 8.5L duty free added on unless over 48hrs.

    I had to laugh at the stern talking and then $3 tax I had to pay...

    Coming back the 2nd time we'd been down 3 days, crossed at one of the smaller crossing, no probs even though we both had over the duty free limit + up to the allowed excess of 9L.
  9. Seany

    Seany Zealot (571) Sep 27, 2005 Canada (QC)

    3$ tax on 9L?? You hit the jackpot!!
  10. tjohn2401

    tjohn2401 Initiate (0) May 26, 2010 Michigan

    What happens if you don't declare and then they search your car?
  11. pirate99gs

    pirate99gs Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2014 Canada (QC)

    You are hit with penalties, and license is put into the system, meaning more scrutiny every time you cross.

    I was always planning on declaring, just hoping the border guard gives me an early Xmas present...
    Seany and tjohn2401 like this.
  12. MCBanjoMike

    MCBanjoMike Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2014 Canada (QC)

    I always declare and I almost always pay taxes, except if I have a relatively small amount of beer. A Quebec customs agent once told me that they typically don't care about a single six-pack, but when you're crossing with 8L of beer they typically raise their eyebrows. Taxes aren't too bad, I brought back 18L of Alchemist beer (my girlfriend was with me so we were allowed 2x9L) and I paid less than $30 in taxes on about $100US of beer. Absolutely worth it, and I don't want to get myself in trouble with customs just to save $25.
  13. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Savant (1,187) Oct 24, 2012 Canada (BC)

    Sorry that was the extra tax I had to pay not the total. Still was like $25 or something all together, but she made a big deal about me being over and then acted like the penalty of $3 was going to ruin me lol.
    Seany likes this.
  14. Hal_Hickey

    Hal_Hickey Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2014 Canada (BC)

    I always cross at Cornwall as Ontario has a 45 litre per person total limit. Taxes are reasonable. Paying or not paying is a crap shoot and as someone else already mentioned, totally at the discretion of the border officer. I summarize all been purchases on a spreadsheet (I write it in), which indicates, where, $, how many cans/bottles and total litres. The officers like that you come prepared to declare everything and may be slightly more inclined to let you pass with overages.

    Sometimes at smaller crossings the officers are bored, due to lack of activity, so they may drill or search you just for something to pass the time.

    I believe the taxes in QC are slightly lower than Ontario, so if you are inside the 9 litre limit. Remember, one case of Heady is slightly over 11 litres of beer!
    Seany likes this.
  15. Sammy

    Sammy Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,330) Dec 1, 2003 Canada (ON)
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    6 pak=2 L, 8L=24 cans or bottles
  16. mtomlins

    mtomlins Pooh-Bah (1,561) Mar 12, 2010 Canada (ON)

    You gotta be careful with blanket statements @Sammy , it depends on the size of the cans. Like @Hal_Hickey mentioned, a case of Heady (or any other 475ml format can) will clear 11L.
  17. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Grand Pooh-Bah (3,410) Mar 7, 2013 Canada (QC)
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    So that brings up a question I have always had in the back of my mind, but that I've thankfully never had to find the answer to since I guess I've always been lucky: If I cross with 8L--or whatever the limit is--I am technically fine, but the second I add two extra cans I have to pay tax on all of it (including the amount that the gov't benevolently "allows" me to bring back)? I always thought (or hoped) you just paid on the difference, i.e. you'd pay 8 L of tax bringing 16L back with you.

    Also, I am curious as to how all the people that always or almost always pay phrase it. Do you all just immediately give them the number of liters when they ask? I am always honest but vague and just get waved through.
    #17 TheDoctor, Dec 2, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  18. TheSevenDuffs

    TheSevenDuffs Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2010 Canada (ON)

    You missed one of the biggest factors: they have the ability to seize anything you did not declare. I know people who this has happened to.
    digdug1810 and mtomlins like this.
  19. Seany

    Seany Zealot (571) Sep 27, 2005 Canada (QC)

    Technically, if just a day trip, you are allowed 8.5L, but must pay tax on all of it.
    More than 48 hours, you are allowed 8.5L tax exempt, plus another 8.5L you must pay tax on. At least this is how I understand it.

    I live 3km from the border and cross about once a week. I find they have become more strict in the last year or so. I think they are catching on that we are not bringing back 9$ 24 packs of Genny or Busch anymore...
  20. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Grand Pooh-Bah (3,410) Mar 7, 2013 Canada (QC)
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Thanks! That makes sense. Makes me realize that I really don't buy as much beer as I think I do sometimes lol.
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