Bringing wine back to US via Canada

Old May 5, 19, 11:46 am
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Bringing wine back to US via Canada

I live in Seattle and I've noticed that flights to Europe are often better/cheaper from Vancouver, BC. I will often bring back a case or two of wine from Europe and when entering the US directly from Europe, this has never been an issue (declare at border, get waved through).

From my quick research, it sounds like Canada and BC typically have substantially higher duties on alcohol and are more willing to charge them. The CBSA page states that any goods both entering and leaving with you are not subject to duties. But they have a separate page on alcohol that states all alcohol is subject to taxes.

Does anyone have experience with how CBSA deals with alcohol that will be immediately driven down to the US? I do have Nexus, though I doubt that will matter for this.
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Old May 5, 19, 12:50 pm
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I doubt if Canadian Customs cares what you plan to do with the wine after arrival. You're effectively importing wine twice, and might have to pay customs duties both times.
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Old May 5, 19, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by dblevitan View Post
I live in Seattle and I've noticed that flights to Europe are often better/cheaper from Vancouver, BC. I will often bring back a case or two of wine from Europe and when entering the US directly from Europe, this has never been an issue (declare at border, get waved through).

From my quick research, it sounds like Canada and BC typically have substantially higher duties on alcohol and are more willing to charge them. The CBSA page states that any goods both entering and leaving with you are not subject to duties. But they have a separate page on alcohol that states all alcohol is subject to taxes.

Does anyone have experience with how CBSA deals with alcohol that will be immediately driven down to the US? I do have Nexus, though I doubt that will matter for this.
A YVR-Europe-SEA-YVR routing can sometimes be only moderately more expensive than a YVR-Europe-YVR routing; and skipping the SEA-YVR leg on the return to North America is generally harmless. Also, YVR-Europe/Europe-SEA by itself may cheaper than expected, with or without “fuel dumping” the YQ surcharges on tickets. Just things to consider to minimize dealing with customs.
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Old May 5, 19, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
A YVR-Europe-SEA-YVR routing can sometimes be only moderately more expensive than a YVR-Europe-YVR routing; and skipping the SEA-YVR leg on the return to North America is generally harmless. Also, YVR-Europe/Europe-SEA by itself may cheaper than expected, with or without “fuel dumping” the YQ surcharges on tickets. Just things to consider to minimize dealing with customs.
Good point - I didn't even look at this. I'm looking at flying to Germany at the moment, and the only reasonable flights from SEA were on Condor. Looks like YVR-FRA-SEA-YVR is substantially cheaper, even with the LH nonstop on the way back. I'll have to take a closer look at this.

Originally Posted by catocony View Post
I doubt if Canadian Customs cares what you plan to do with the wine after arrival. You're effectively importing wine twice, and might have to pay customs duties both times.
In theory, the goal of duties is to tax items staying in the country. Per the CBSA site, "If you declare goods when you arrive and take them back with you when you leave, you will not have to pay any duty or taxes." But I'm not 100% sure if that applies to alcohol.

My son has an appointment for his Nexus card next week, so I'll ask CBSA then. Still, even if one agent says it's fine, you can never be sure how they'll treat it in practice, so I wanted to see if anyone had any first-hand experience.
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Old May 5, 19, 6:21 pm
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They have no idea if the wine will stay in Canada or not. You could easily give it to someone outside Customs, or sell it, or do anything you want to it. Carrying it to US Immigration is just one of many things that might happen at the airport.
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Old May 5, 19, 10:26 pm
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Agreed they won't know where it's going. But the site also says that they can charge a security deposit which can then be refunded once they've verified it's exiting the country.

That being said, my hope is that they treat a case of wine the same way the US does - basically ignore it as it's too much trouble to write up. But it would be good to hear if anyone has actually experienced this.
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Old May 6, 19, 6:27 am
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We have Nexus (U.S. citizens) and flew into YYZ from AMS in October and were driving home to Detroit. At the Nexus kiosk it said non-Canadian citizens were limited to C$60 worth of goods duty free. We had about $500 US$ worth of goods from out trip so we both checked "yes" that we had more than C$60. We went to the counter with our slip, the CBSA agent asked what we had & where we were going, smiled, and just stamped our slips & sent us on our way - just one experience, no guarantees.
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