Customs Tariff: A tax for Canadians Moving Back to Canada


Starting a new job can be an exciting and anxious experience. Starting a new job in a new country can amplify that anxiety 100 times over. The concept of globalization has given all types and sizes of companies the ability to cross borders and establish new branches in other countries. This has led to a major spike in employee relocations. At MCA, we have a lot of experience lending a helping hand to ensure a seamless cross border transition for the employee and the company.

Customs Tariff

For Canadian employees relocating to the U.S., the decision is an easy one; the lower tax rates and sunshine seduce many Canadians into leaving their snow shovels and hockey sticks behind in favour of flippers and golf clubs each year. However, not everyone will remain in the U.S. In the event that a Canadian employee decides to move back to Canada, as a former resident, one could be subject to a Customs Tariff; a re-entry tax based on personal or household goods exceeding $10,000 CAD in value, that will be brought back into Canada. Please note the Customs Tariff does not exist for U.S. residents moving to Canada for the first time.

How to be prepared for the Customs Tariff

Prior to your re-entry to Canada, it is important that you prepare two copies of a list that contains all the goods you intend to bring into Canada as part of your personal belongings. In addition to the list of all the goods, you will need to include the value, make, model, and serial number (where applicable). This list should also be divided into two sections: the goods you intend to bring with you over the border, and the goods that will follow later. It is important to note that the latter goods will only be exempt from taxation should they be included on your original list. Examples of items to listed include: clothing, furniture, appliances, jewellery, antiques, computers, personal vehicles, etc…

As a relocated employee, you can be sure your firm will ensure a smooth cross border transition. However, once your contract is over and you are no longer an employee, the onus is now on you to ensure you are prepared for everything from leaving the U.S., crossing the border and re-establishing Canadian residency. Feel free to contact MCA Cross Border Advisors to help guide you through the transition between U.S. and Canadian residency, or any other cross border questions you may have.


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MCA Cross Border Advisors, Inc. is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.