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Packages back and forth to Canada
Customer wants to see item before agreeing to sale.

 5:06 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

We had a Canadian gentleman visit one of our locations in the US, and while here he expressed interest in a large natural Sapphire that we did not have in stock. I have since located a number of stones that I think he'll like, but naturally he wants to view them in person before finalizing his purchase. I have some experience shipping goods to Canada, but no experience shipping multiple packages back-and-forth, due to the fact that taxes and duties are charged on items entering Canada.

Is there a method that one can use to "Show" items to a Canadian national without them having to pay the taxes/fees until they make their final selection?

To be clear, we are not attempting to circumvent payment of the proper taxes, only to avoid paying taxes on items that are going to be sent back. All of the stones we send will be sent back to us, with the one he selects being set in a custom ring and sent back to him.



 9:15 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I severely doubt there is a way to do that.

I know that you can send goods into Canada for a trade show. But that is dependant on the goods returning to the USA. In this situation I would not do that because if they catch on, you are going to look like a smuggler and for the rest of your life you will experience major hassles when crossing borders.

I think it is best that you contact a brokerage firm and get good advice. Perhaps there is a way to pull this off legally.


 9:30 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd find a spot in Seattle/Buffalo etc and have the Canadian cross the border to view them. Canada's a big country, but 90% of the population lives within 100 miles of the Canadian US border. It's like they're all trying to crowd down south where it's warm or something.


 11:38 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

These would be returning to the USA. Surely there must be some way for Canadians to recover the duties they paid to receive items from the US that they end up returning?

I'll follow the advice here and contact a brokerage firm. Thanks for the suggestion!

@wheel- Yes, he lives close to the border, but crossing the border is far less convenient than it used to be.


 12:02 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

The Canadian national must pay the PST/GST and then submit a request for a refund. There is generally no import duty, thanks to NAFTA.

Follow the instructions on the reverse side of the E14 Customs Invoice.


 12:15 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Crossing the border is less convenient than it used to be but I'd bet it would be a lot easier than doing all the paperwork to recover taxes, duty, whatever.

Import duties might apply if the gems were mined elsewhere than in the USA.

What about the cost of insurance both ways? That would be a non-recoverable cost.


 1:53 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

The other thing you could do is have the buyer fly into a local airport. Meet at the airport, do your deal, buyer returns home.

I've seen this done in my niche for large sales to out of country buyers. Fly in, do the paperwork, fly home, never leave the airport.


 2:45 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is there some way to use the "samples" option on the forms? I'm not sure how that works.


 5:05 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

What your essentially asking is for the sapphire to enter the country in bond. We do this all the time- we bring shipments into Canada and then ship them into the U.S.. Definitely not worth your trouble though to do it this way and there are severe limitations on what you can do with the product while in bond.

As someone else mentioned, you are eligible to receive a refund of any taxes and duty if you can prove re-export back into the states. Again, depending on how much this amount is, it may or may not be worth it for you time.

Long story short, there's unfortunately no easy box you can tick and have the item avoid taxes legally. You could mark the item as having no commercial value (you can still have an insured value) and plead ignorance if they ever questioned you but I'm sure customs officials see this all the time when it comes to jewelery and I'm sure you'd perk some eyebrows pretty quick.


 7:20 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know that you can declare goods as samples. For example if someone wanted to buy a bulk of trousers you could send one declared as a sample. However there is usually a limit regarding the worth of the goods.

The other way is probably to send the goods with a "pro forma invoice" and declare them and then get a refund when they are returned. However this usually involves a bit of paper work and if you make a mistake with the paper work this could fail. If you are not familiar with customs regulations you should contact a customs broker and let them handle the paperwork.


 1:21 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I was just thinking. This would be a good way to move money across the border undetected. Send real gems into the country, send fake ones back. Then sell the real ones for cash inside the country.

Not that I am suggesting anyone do that. But I am sure Customs agents would be hip to such a scam.

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