$150 discount & my brother in Canada eh?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by durvivor, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. durvivor macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003

    My brother is a poor starving college student in Canada. He says that his univeristy doesn't have any cheap apple laptops in the univeristy book store.

    So, my mind wanders to that $150 discount on those sweet, sweet new iBooks at (plus no sales tax means about $60 savings)

    So, I want to order an iBook for him from and have it delivered to me here in the USA. Then, I want to apply for the $150 rebate. Then, I want to mail the laptop up to my brother.

    Does anybody have any experience with this? I need to know the Customs Duty charges, or tax charges?

  2. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    I suppose it would work, assuming you can send it as a gift, then I think there is no customs charge. Heck, if you UPS it up there, they'd probably never even look at it.

    However, you are technically breaking a few tax laws, namely the fact that you are legally required (though no one does it, based on a number of threads here) to report the sale and pay the sales tax to your state even if doesn't. So the $60 savings is in and of itself, illegal.

    However, if you are a resident of the US, and as such are legally getting the $150 rebate, and are indeed mailing it to your brother as a gift (he isn't paying you back), then for the most part it's on the up and up. Oh, and I'd like you to be my brother, too, if it would get me a free iBook.

    If, on the other hand, you shouldn't be getting the rebate for some reason (you don't actually live in the US), your brother is going to pay you back, and you're not going to report the sales tax, then just about everything about what you're attempting to do is illegal. Doesn't mean it won't work, though.
  3. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004

    Like most countries, Canada has a limit on the value of a "tax free" gift sent to residents. I think it's something like $60 currently, beyond that you pay an import duty.

    When you ship a package to an international destination you have to fill out a customs declaration form which presents a couple of risks if you declare a false value for whatever you're sending.

    Maybe it does get through without customs looking at it, but if they do, you run the risk of having the computer impounded while you try to prove that the brand new computer really is only worth $60 or whatever small amount you claimed. Plus, you wont be able to insure the package for a different amount which would be a problem if it's damaged or lost in shipment.

    What nationality is your brother? If he's not Canadian but is temporarily in Canada as a student then probably he can take a computer along as part of his personnal property and not have to pay an import long as he takes it out of Canada with him when he leaves.
  4. Sabbath macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2003
    Yeah I would be tempted to make it look as if he is sending it to himself, while he is just temporarily in Canada and try and get around it that way. Because an iBook is just way to heavy to carry while you are travelling :confused:heheh or he ordered it but it arroved after he left the country. I'm sure there is something you can make up, especially if he is bringing it back to the country.

    Of course it's always best to check what you and cant do officially! I can remember when my friend phoned up customs to see what martial arts weapons he could import, that was particularly funny.
  5. durvivor thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Extra Info

    Hey All,

    I'm a Canadian citizen but a legal resident in the US. He is a Canadian citizen resident in Canada.

    Sadly the laptop won't be a gift from me. I was thinking this would be a he pays me back (but its worth it because of the lower cost of the machine in the US + the $150 rebate)

    So, lets say I order it. And wanted to ship it to him (not as a gift) but as an honest to goodness fully declared with customs thingy. How much will the customs guys need to charge?

    What would they be charging GST / PST / or Duty? And, how much? Like 7% of the declared value?

    Didn't USA & Canada set up a Free Trade agreement over a decade ago & wasn't one of the first things that could be traded freely computers?
  6. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004

    it's all so complicated!! it's best that you check out your government's website;

    tax info

    it seems that it depends on where in Canada you're talking about....could be GST or HST and maybe PST too

    anyway, "Free Trade" isn't the same as "no taxes"!
  7. dvdh macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2004
  8. hushreality macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2004
    dont do it...

    He'll get hit hard on duties (maybe around $350-400). I had to pay $100 on a synth keyboard I ordered from the U.S., the keyboard was only $400.

    Electronics = bad.

    Your best bet is order it, visit him during xmas and drop it off or have him go to the U.S. to visit you, and bring it back home.
  9. telecomm macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    This is probably the best option. Since Amazon will be discounting the retail price, the apple education price, even after the exchange rate, will probably still be the best bet. That's how I got my powerbook (while in Canada). I'd bet that the amazon discount + relevant taxes wouldn't be lower than the apple education price.

    Apple's deals with universities/colleges usually doesn't beat the apple education discount anyway, it seems to just allow the university/college computer store to sell directly at the education discount price.
  10. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Canadian taxes and duties

    Here is the real information on importing to Canada:

    Under NAFTA there is no Canadian import duty on computers or most other goods imported from the USA or Mexico.

    However, the person receiving the package will pay:

    Canadian GST of 7% on the declared value. If the declared value is artificially low (like, $400 for an iBook G4) Canada Customs will assess a value, which is likely to be full retail or higher.

    + Provincial Sales Tax depending on the province: 7% - 8% on the declared value except 0% in Alberta

    + Shipping charges if it was not prepaid by the sender. Shipments sent shipping collect usually have $5 to $10 extra in service charges from the courier.

    + Customs brokerage charges: this is what UPS (or whoever clears the package) charges for handling the paperwork. UPS's minimum is $16, increasing with the value of the goods, could easily be $40 - $60 per package

    + Taxes on the brokerage charge.

    So nobody in Canada pays $100 *duty* on $400 in electronic goods from the US, however they very well may have paid $100 in combined brokerage, GST, Provincial Tax and shipping charges.

  11. Duff-Man macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    Duff-Man says....CanadaRam spells it out pretty well. I have not crunched all the numbers, but with the Canadian dollar being of higher value today and Apple Canada's prices not really reflecting the current rates, it *may* still be cheaper to buy from the USA as you are thinking....just do all the math carefully and account for every possible charge. Check with different shippers - some will include the customs brokering charges - usually this is only on their higher "overnight" or "express" services but when factored in it may still be better than paying the cheap ground rate plus the brokering fee. Then of course you'll need to decide if saving just those few dollars (if you can get the Canadian education option) is worth it....oh yeah!
  12. NEENAHBOY macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2004
    Arlington, VA
    I lived in the U.K. for six years and used to do this stuff all the time. I had several electronics items shipped over to me, and all I told the sender to do was lie on the customs label. Usually they'd put down "books" or something like that and then just not insure it. Personally, I'd go that route and put my faith in UPS or FedEx, but that's just me.
  13. Duff-Man macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    Duff-Man says...I would be careful with that advice. Times are different now. More and more packages get screened/opened and/or scanned. Just recently we had a news item from Canada Post that many packages have been delayed due to increased screening by Canada Customs. If caught with a false declaration, it could very well end up costing you more.....oh yeah!
  14. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Canadian taxes and duties - 2

    One more thing:

    If the international shipper gets clever and insures a $100 item for $1,000 (thinking if it gets lost or damaged there'll be a windfall profit from the insurance - wrong, as it turns out) then the Canadian recipient will be forced to pay taxes and brokerage based on the $1,000 value -- about $180 in charges, instead of $30. They ain't going to get this money back, either.

    Ask me how I know this....

    If you are ordering goods for import into Canada (such as EBay auctions), it's best if you specify the shipping method, and spell out chapter and verse what the shipper should declare and write on the outside of the package.
  15. durvivor thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Thanks for the info!

    Hey Thanks CanadaRAM!!!

    Wow, the taxes sure take a bite out of any discount I'd get from Amazon. Thanks for the great info!

    I think I'm sufficiently scared of the whole ship to Canada and guess what fees I'll pay system.

    To the other posters. I'm really not the type to put a false value declaration on a package. I am the type to carry it over the border myself (ya, I know, blame TV for smashing my moral compass. Or, wait. Grand Theft Auto - ya that game made me do it) However I don't think he wants to wait until Christmas.

    Thanks for pointing out that has a EDU store. I think I'm going to tell him to use that! (then I'll send him a C note to help him out a bit - I would have spent that on shipping, etc anyway)

    Thanks Everybody!

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