Express Customs Broker provides a comprehensive guide to importing goods and understanding import duties in Canada. This step-by-step guide offers valuable information to keep you on track throughout the import process. Here are the key points covered:


  1. Obtain a Business Number: Before importing goods into Canada, it is necessary to obtain a business number from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for an Import-Export Account. Express Customs Broker can assist with this process.
  2. Requirements Before Importing: Important requirements include accurately identifying the goods to be imported, knowing the country of origin and manufacture, ensuring the goods are not prohibited from entering Canada, and determining if there are any restrictions or additional requirements for the goods.
  3. Determining Costs: All imported goods are subject to taxes and duties. The costs depend on various factors such as tariff classification, applicable duty rates, and taxes payable. Utilizing the services of licensed Canadian customs brokers, like We can ensure accurate information and expedite the process.
  4. Tariff Classifications: Each item being imported is assigned a 10-digit tariff classification number. These numbers help determine the rate of Canada import duties based on the type of item and its material composition.
  5. Tariff Categories: Canadian import duties may fall under different tariff categories, including the Most Favored Nation (MFN) Tariff and Special Tariff Provisions. Trade agreements and tariff treatments may apply, and proof of origin is required.
  6. Goods & Services Tax (GST) and Excise: Goods and services in Canada are subject to a 5% GST, while certain goods may also be subject to excise taxes. Some goods, like medical devices and basic groceries, may be exempted from taxes.
  7. Value for Duty: Canada import duties are calculated based on the “value for duty,” which is the price paid for the goods converted to Canadian funds. Certain adjustments may be necessary for this amount.
  8. Calculating Duties and Taxes: To calculate import duties and taxes, convert the invoice value to Canadian Dollars (CAD) using the exchange rate from the date of direct shipment.
  9. Placing an Order: Choose the vendor, shipper, or exporter, and determine the mode of shipping and the desired CBSA office of entry. Import duties can vary depending on the port of entry and the destination.
  10. Cargo Reporting: If you’re not transporting the shipment yourself, the carrier must declare all commercial goods upon arrival using a bar-coded Cargo Control Document (CCD) or the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system.
  11. Shipment Examination: Border Services Officers may examine the shipment to ensure compliance with CBSA requirements and proper declaration of import duties. Any costs incurred for the examination are the responsibility of the importer.
  12. Full Accounting and Payment: If you handle the import yourself, complete and present your accounting documents at a CBSA office. Required documents include forms A8A-B, CI1, and import permits, certificates, or licenses.
  13. Release of Goods: The release of goods prior to payment of import duties and taxes can be done through the Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD) option, which requires the involvement of a customs broker.
  14. Self-Adjustments: Self-adjustments may result in duties and taxes owing, be revenue neutral, or result in a refund. Errors in accounting information must be corrected within 90 days, and refund applications can generally be filed up to 4 years from the accounting date.
  15. Record Keeping: All records related to importation and import duties must be kept for 6 years, including quantities received, price paid, country of origin, vendor, and other relevant information.
  16. Verification & Adjustments: The CBSA may verify and adjust commercial importations for up to 4 years after importation, including origin, value for duty, or tariff classification. Detailed Adjustment Statements (DAS) may be issued, and duties and taxes owing must be paid within 30 days.
  17. Trade Incentive Programs: Various programs, such as duties relief, drawback, and customs bonded warehouse, can reduce or eliminate customs duties on qualifying goods.


By following this guide, you can ensure compliance and streamline the process of importing goods into Canada. If you have any questions or need further assistance, you can contact Express Customs Broker through their website.