Most countries will require you to pay for duties and taxes on the total value of the goods that will remain in the country. They may call it Value Added Tax (VAT) or Goods and Service Tax (GST) or any other name all together. The range of tax will vary at each country but in most countries will range from 5% to 25% of the total declared value of the goods. In Canada, the GST is currently at 5%.
Every client shipping into Canada may be required to pay at least 5% on the total value of the goods that remain in Canada. The customs broker will pay this on behalf of the client and then bill the client for the same amount. A broker will not add a surcharge to this amount.
Letter of Recognition
In Canada there are provisions to set up the event in a way to avoid paying duties and taxes on the goods that are being imported – regardless if they are being sold or given away. This is done through the Letter of Recognition.
Whether the meeting is a large scale trade show or a small incentive or corporate occasion, any event that is shipping material to Canada should have their event recognized through Canada Customs. The organizer can do this directly through customs or have their customs broker do it for them. There is never a charge to have a customs broker do this.
The recognition process in Canada is globally unique. It sets Canada apart from other countries that we bid against to help streamline goods moving into Canada for conventions and meetings.
Some of the qualifications include the event is a foreign-based organization with 75% or more attendees from outside Canada, and is not open to the public. The government of Canada recognizes that if the majority of attendees are from outside Canada, then whatever material is brought in for sale or exchange will be taken out of Canada by the majority of attendees. It is a great service and best of all – it’s free.
Temporary Import Permit
An organizer can apply (through the Letter of Recognition) for 99-93 to allow temporary importation of goods under a Temporary Import Permit and 98-30 to allow for consumables to arrive duty and tax free. Customs brokers know these privileges and will apply for them on behalf of the client at no charge. Canada is the only country offering this privilege to meeting planners.
Carnet or TIB
A Carnet or Temporary Import (TIB) is a type of importing that will avoid paying any duties or tax provided the shipment is to be returned after the event. This could be useful for high value exhibit displays, or registration and office materials or when the event does not qualify for duty and tax relief. The shipment must remain intact – the entire shipment must leave the same way it came into Canada. Depending on the value of your goods, it is sometimes cheaper to pay the GST than to pay the broker for a TIB or Carnet.