Oct 27 2009

What’s the duty/tax on Plasma/LCD HD TV?

Published by at 11:54 am under Canada vs. US,Cross border shopping,Shopping Tips

Lately I was asked a lot of questions regarding importing large screen Plasma/LCD TVs from the US.

After a brief survey, I wasn’t surprised that there’s a sharp price disparity between the US and Canadian prices. Take the popular Sharp – AQUOS 52″ 1080p Flat-Panel LCD HDTV for example, both BestBuy.com and BestBuy.ca have a special offer, one at US$1299, the other at CA$1,899. 46% price difference.

So it makes all the sense to shop in the US. Or is it?

Now how much duty or tax will you be charged? This may change the equation significantly. Here’s the list of taxes that you’ll have to pay when importing that big screen TV.

  • US state tax, depending on which state you purchase the TV. New Hampshire has 0% state tax, whereas Washington taxes 6.5%.
  • Duty of 5% (8528.72, covering high-definition, flat-screen, projection, CRT ), if the TV is not made in Mexico or US. One reader reported 7% being labeled as “luxury tax”. I cannot find reference on excise tax.
  • GST/PST on top of all above.

If you have stayed outside Canada over 48 hours, you can claim your personal exemption of $400 or $750.

One tip, many good brand TV, e.g. Panasonic 50″ Plasma T.V, are  made in Mexico. You can get away without paying the duty by choose those brands. When you cross the border, choose a senior-looking officers who would be more experienced in dealing with NAFTA and duty issues, and make less mistake in calculating the duty/tax.

Do your math, then you know whether it’s worthwhile.

Update Jan. 6 2010: A reader reported that the duty of an HD display TV is 3.5%,  assuming it’s made outside North America.

Another Update: If you live close to the border, try get free shipping to a UPS store near the border and you can go pick up. Amazom.com has the best deals on HDTV, Cameras, and Computers. I saved myself 25%, doing this, see blog here.

Comments

34 responses so far. Leave a comment

34 Responses to “What’s the duty/tax on Plasma/LCD HD TV?”

  1. SimonNo Gravataron 28 Nov 2009 at 11:41 am

    Hi! I am a student in the US, and bought a Sharp TV to bring back home (Quebec) during the holidays. I paid $635, which includes PA taxes (6%).

    If I understood your posts correctly, this should fall under my $750CAD exemption, and I shouldn’t have to pay canadian taxes or duties. That is regardless of where it was made, because it falls under the 750CAD. Correct?

    [Reply]

    BoBNo Gravatar Reply:

    Yes, that’s the case.

    [Reply]

    simonNo Gravatar Reply:

    Just as an update, I ended up having to pay duties on everything, along with taxes. Being a student in the usa makes me a non_resident. On a $600 tv, it was $100 of taxes and duties in quebec.

    [Reply]

    BoBNo Gravatar Reply:

    Simon,

    Thanks for letting us know the update. Other readers will need to be careful about whether being a “Resident”.

    [Reply]

  2. sue wattsNo Gravataron 02 Jan 2010 at 12:13 pm

    If you claim your 750 and your TV costs over 1,000.00 is the duty on the difference? or on the whole?
    and do I understand you right; that you pay the state tax ( PA 6%) and then the gst/pst again at the border?

    [Reply]

    BoBNo Gravatar Reply:

    The duty is on the difference. Yes, you’ll pay both US and Canadian taxes. I’m not sure if the Canadian tax is on top of the total or before US tax. Let us know if you find out.

    [Reply]

    JohnNo Gravatar Reply:

    Sticker Price + State Taxes = Total Paid.

    Total Paid X Exchange Rate = Canadian Value (Value for Tax)

    Value for Tax + Excise Taxes = Amount you will pay PST/GST on.

    So yes, you’re paying PST/GST on not only state sales tax, but Excise Tax as well.

    [Reply]

  3. St.AndrewNo Gravataron 03 Apr 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Hello BoB,
    Don’t want to disturb with the some question here, again and again. I’m resident in Canada. Going for 7 days to MI and looking for buy LedTV over 3000$. Can u say correctly what price i will need to pay (TAX or Duty) for this “material item – TV” at the Canada border?
    Thank you for your help and my God bless You!

    [Reply]

  4. JohnNo Gravataron 01 Jun 2010 at 8:41 am

    Over 7 days, you will get your $750 Exemption, so assuming the dollar is at par, you will pay

    $3000 for the TV + state sales tax (6%) = 3180 US

    Assuming PAR $1 US = $1 CAD

    3180 – 750 = $2430

    Duty of 3.5% on $2430 = 85.05
    GST (on 2515.05) = 125.75
    PST (on 2515.05) = 201.20

    So, your $3000 Sticker Price TV, has cost you
    3592, after factoring in State sales tax, Candian Duty, PST, and GST.

    [Reply]

    ChetNo Gravatar Reply:

    Hi John

    Can this exemption be pooled? If I travel with my wife can I get exemption of 750X2=1500$. Think I’ve read somewhere it can’t be but not able to find the source again. Pls confirm.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  5. Megan AllyNo Gravataron 25 Jul 2010 at 12:19 pm

    i just wish that LCD TVs would have more contrast and brighter colors like CRTs*`-

    [Reply]

  6. Quaint BucketNo Gravataron 25 Sep 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Just wondering: if there’s a problem with the tv (say you bought it at Best Buy) within the policy for returns, do you have to go to the US to do so, or can you do it in Canada?

    [Reply]

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    Return to bestbuy in the US.

    [Reply]

  7. PMNo Gravataron 30 Sep 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Hi, I’m planning to make a drive down to Seattle for one day (less than 24 hours). I was planning to purchase a tv from Bestbuy US for $1200 and take it back to Vancouver. I was wondering if you could help me estimate what price I would need to pay (in tax & duty) at the border? Thank you!

    [Reply]

  8. maahmudNo Gravataron 08 Oct 2010 at 12:02 pm

    the same case for tv in US, i found one in Ebay and i wanna buy it, how much i have to pay to deliver it here in canada, the tv is Samsung

    [Reply]

  9. David BNo Gravataron 09 Nov 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Just to clarify re: TV’s. If I mail order a TV from New York and it is delivered to my vacation home in Washington State with no State sales taxes at all and I then import that TV into Canada I will ONLY pay the excise tax and the HST on the cdn value. I do not believe Canada Customs will assess or collect Washington’s sales tax. Correct?

    [Reply]

  10. David BNo Gravataron 09 Nov 2010 at 3:16 pm

    One more thing of interest. If I pick up the tv in Washington with my friend or father after spending 48 hours in the US do I get to DOUBLE my exemptions before being assessed excise and HST?

    [Reply]

  11. John RNo Gravataron 10 Nov 2010 at 9:39 am

    When you import into Canada, you will have to pay BC’s HST rate on the cdn value. Canada does not collection US state sales taxes.

    Exemptions are not doubled up. (but in saying that, the officer could let it slide)

    [Reply]

  12. DebraNo Gravataron 28 Nov 2010 at 1:26 am

    I’m an American living in Ottawa, ON. My brother will be GIFTing a 58″ Samsung LED TV from Amazon.com (b/c they don’t ship to Canada) to me (approx. $2200 USD). He will be shipping it to Ogdensburg, NY (closest US border pick up point). I registered for a US address for this exact purpose. Keep in mind that is will state GIFT on the invoice/receipt. Do you know how taxes and/or duties would apply in my particular situation? Thanks!

    [Reply]

  13. IRS Tax ReliefNo Gravataron 01 Feb 2011 at 12:13 am

    I do not believe Canada Customs will assess or collect Washington’s sales tax. Correct?

    [Reply]

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    They won’t collect US sales tax. They will however, factor it into the cost of the goods. So if you paid $1000 + 5% sales tax for a total of $1050 – your cost of the goods was $1050.

    [Reply]

  14. AJITHNo Gravataron 10 Feb 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I WANT IMPORT TOYOTA COROLLA 2003(RIGHT HAND) USED CAR FROM JAPAN.
    COST OF THE CAR IS 5000CAN$
    WHAT WILL BE THE DUTY FOR THIS ?
    DOI HAVE TO PAY THE GST+PST?

    [Reply]

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    Please see http://www.importcartocanada.info/search/importing+a+car+into+canada

    As there will be duty, and GST and PST, and excise, and RIV

    [Reply]

  15. Modesto Bankruptcy LawyerNo Gravataron 30 Mar 2011 at 12:18 am

    Thank you for the great information, It was precisely what I was looking for, and really helpful.

    [Reply]

  16. cheap hatsNo Gravataron 05 May 2011 at 1:20 am

    I do not believe Canada Customs will assess or collect Washington’s sales tax. Correct?

    [Reply]

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    The vendor will though.

    Eg – I goto walmart, and see a TV for $500.

    I buy that, and walk out of walmart paying $540 (assuming washingtons state sales tax is 8%)

    Customs will see that TV as having a value of $540 US.

    Its the vendor that hits you for state sales tax, not CBSA.
    CBSA will collect whats involved for canada (eg PST/GST or HST)

    [Reply]

  17. 2sshoescomNo Gravataron 17 May 2011 at 10:40 pm

    I would like to buy a pair of boots from Ebay Store,the cost is $219USD including shipping fees.This pair of boots are made in china.Who can let me know how much tax I have to pay?Thanks a lot.

    [Reply]

  18. forignerNo Gravataron 12 Aug 2011 at 3:31 am

    Hello, i can’t stop but think about something. if i’m returning to canada and lets say i bought a laptop and a phone and the clothes that i am wearing and i have the laptop and phone out of boxes, how will they know that i bought these items and that i didnt have them with me when i left canada?
    is it a case of honesty will cost you a lot more?

    [Reply]

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    In theory..
    - vehicle seizure
    - prison
    (worse case)

    - double duty/ tax
    (usual)

    [Reply]

  19. ZNo Gravataron 13 Nov 2011 at 5:20 am

    Lets say if I import a 46inch 1080p tv from Germany into OR/ID and my buying price is US$153.50 (max bidding price). DO I have to pay Idaho 6% tax? How about the duty? Is it 3.5%, 5% or 7%?What other charges do I need to know about? Also the shipping fee. Does it cost me over 200 for the shipping?

    [Reply]

  20. AleksNo Gravataron 23 Nov 2011 at 8:40 pm

    You can not join purchases for two people in order to increase the exemptions. They may let you do it but technically, it is not the procedure.

    If you go over your exemption – $750 as an example.
    You spend $1000. You pay the duty on the entire amount and the $750 exemption is no longer valid.

    [Reply]

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    http://www.cbsa.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5056-eng.html#s2x9

    Correct – Your mileage may very. Usually the officers will let it slide, when its a family present – eg, husband and wife get the TV, and both of their exemptions would cover the item.. but again, they don’t have to let you.

    [Reply]

  21. BrendanNo Gravataron 24 Nov 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I am currently living in Shenzhen, China (captial of the world for electronics manufacturing).

    I am a fellow Canadian planning to ship tablets to Canada.

    Does anyone know how much I will pay in taxes? (customs, brokerage fees, etc.)

    I am very curious as to what the duty will be on a $150 USD tablet. I know shipping is about $35 from HGK plus I will pay GST/PST. ANything else I am missing? 6% duty?

    Also, if anyone is interested in drop shipping from shenzhen, sourcing, or purchasing let me know I will be glad to be assistance.

    brendan.w.oneill@gmail.com

    [Reply]

  22. MAKNo Gravataron 26 Dec 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Hi,

    My friend is a USA citizen and visiting me in Ontarion, when he visit canada can he bring LCD TV worth $500 without paying any duty. Or what will be the procedure. And one more thing my old Playstation is also with him, if he brings that also he has to pay duty for the playstation also.

    [Reply]

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