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Excise Tax or Duty on Wine, Beer, Spirit, Cigar or Tobacco

Duty and tax on Wine, Beer, Spirit, Cigar or Tobacco are one of the most complicated thing in life. There are duty/tax at federal or provincial level, and may be on top of each other. I’ll simplify this from a cross-border shopper’s point of view.

If you bring in these goods exceed the personal exemption, you’re expected to pay the following duty and tax.

  • Federal excise duty, see the table below
  • GST on top of the excise duty (5% for all provinces)
  • Provincial liquor mark-up (17% in BC)
  • Provincial liquor sales tax on top of all above (10% in BC, 12% in Ontario)

Federal Excise Duty Rates, 2003


Distilled spirits

$11.066/litre of alcohol

Mixed beverages
(up to 7% alcohol)



Up to 1.2% alcohol


1.2% to 2.5% alcohol


Over 2.5% alcohol



Up to 1,361 grams/1,000


Over 1,361 grams/1,000




Manufactured tobacco


Raw leaf tobacco


Tobacco sticks


1.2% or less alcohol


1.2% to 7% alcohol


Over 7% alcohol


A sample calculation for BC residents can be found here. Importing a bottle of wine at the price of $28 (which include US state tax already), you’re looking at paying $14.55 in tax or 52%.

There are also differences between bulk or packaged wine. If you’re interested, please see the government document here.


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