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Bringing wines into Ontario?


Freckles
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Living in France, I'm building up a nice wine cellar. When the time comes for me to move back to Canada, how can I bring back my bottles? I mean, not physically, I know that part won't be so hard. But, how much money in taxes, duties, etc. do I have to pay to bring my wine into Ontario. Does anyone know the answer to this, please? Thanks

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Living in France, I'm building up a nice wine cellar.  When the time comes for me to move back to Canada, how can I bring back my bottles?  I mean, not physically, I know that part won't be so hard.  But, how much money in taxes, duties, etc. do I have to pay to bring my wine into Ontario.  Does anyone know the answer to this, please?  Thanks

You could send a letter to Chris Layton, Public Relations Director, LCBO, 33 Freeland Street, Toronto. (I don't have the postal code at hand, but it will be available at Canada 411.ca ).

Remember, if the duty is too high, drink up before you leave!

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If you have been out of Canada more than five years you qualify for a returning resident exemption, avoiding 45% plus duty/tax. You still have to pay $1 plus PST and GST (so $1.15) per bottle. Then there is additional PST on the declared value of the wine (you do need an inventory).

Finance and Admin is the group at the LCBO you need to talk to.

We recently returned to Toronto from California, our wine is still "goods to follow" but this is the cost as we understand it.

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Generally, one only needs to be a resident of another country for 1 year before being allowed special exemptions regarding customs duties, etc. Take a look at CBSA's page on Moving Back to Canada.

As Nanuq wrote, you do have to contact the provincial liquor board of whatever province you'll be moving to. You may also have to pay for the customs assessment, not just provincial fees.

If you intend to ship alcoholic beverages to Canada (e.g., the contents of a bar or wine cellar), contact the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor board authority so you can pay the provincial or territorial fees and assessments in advance. To get the shipment released in Canada, you have to produce a copy of the provincial or territorial receipt and pay any customs assessments that may apply.

You do still get your 1.5 L of wine duty-free, though :biggrin:

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Dang. I don't think I'll have been out of the country for a full 5 years.

Check with the LCBO, maybe there's still an exemption.:unsure: We were away for 10 years, so did not ask about less. In general, you have to have owned all your stuff more than six months, but are exempted from duties for your furniture and so on if you have recently purchased it, but have been away five years.

Fingers crossed the exemption applies.

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I'd check on the time you have to be away - I went to university in the US, came home every summer - so was only living out of the country for 8-9 months at a time. When I drove back into Canada with vans full of furniture and whatnot, I was told I didn't have to pay any duty as anything purchased was done so while I was living there.

edited to add that I wasn't bringing back any alcohol... so that may be different :blink:

Edited by Pam R (log)
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Some friends moved to Toronto last year. He an immigrant, she a Canadian who married him in California over 10 years ago. They were told they'd have to pay FULL duties and taxes on all wines (which amount to over 100% in total - I have the calculation in a spreadsheet they sent me).

The AGCO (formerly LLBO) have REALLY clamped down in the past couple of years. Whatever you do get it in writing first.

And a comment on 'values'. Last October they examined my personal wine importation and fed every wine into an internet search engine to determine a market price. They then charged taxes on the prices thay found on the net.

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Ugh.  This all sounds dreadful.  I will look into it the next time I'm in Toronto... please keep your fingers crossed for me.

You may wish to return via Alberta and find someone there to receive goods to follow and then do a one way rental back to Ontario. I have a friend who lives in Alberta and gets a permit and pays very low taxes and duties on things he buys in the US. He drives his wine from a storage facility near Seattle to Alberta through the US. A long way I know, but I hear it is very cheap. I suggest calling the AGLC. They may be able to advise on what exactly the permit is called. I heard of Saskatchewan doing a similar thing for a person coming from Australia (I think the taxes were about 2-3 dollars a bottle). Remember booze is a provincial matter for the most part.

officially left egullet....

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Some friends moved to Toronto last year. He an immigrant, she a Canadian who married him in California over 10 years ago.

I'm hoping (selfishly!) that they somehow did not meet the residency regulations, which seem to be about where you intended to live all along

You may wish to return via Alberta and find someone there to receive goods to follow and then do a one way rental back to Ontario.

This is definitely worth checking out - but I fear that this is going to be dependent on your intended province of residency. We re-rentered Canada in B.C. and all the guy was interested in was that we had the inventories, and then said talk to the LCBO. When the goods arrive, I'm pretty sure we will have to go to a bonded warehouse somewhere and that's when it may all get interesting. (This is the same thing you do with your household goods).

Last October they examined my personal wine importation and fed every wine into an internet search engine to determine a market price. They then charged taxes on the prices thay found on the net.

:shock: While temptation was strong, we did not greatly undervalue our wine, figuring it may be asking for trouble. But this may get interesting. Or scary.

I'll report back when we actually move our wine - when the house and cellar are built...

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On the issue of bringing wine back via Alberta. While this may be possible it opens up a new set of problems. Technically (and 'legally') you cannot move wine between Provinces without going through the same 'importing' process in each Province. i.e. travelling from Alberta by road, you must 'import' into Saskatchewan, then Manitoba, then Ontario, in each case paying the appropriate 'markups'. Of course, this is totally unenforceable on a reglar basis but the Provinces get very testy about protecting their jurisdiction and may use a large importation as a test case. Although I'm not a lawyer, it seems to me that this is totally contrary to the Charter of Rights - but being a test case is not something I would volunteer for (unless someone else was paying the bills).

Incidentally, this partly explains why the larger Alberta stores do not market wines to potential clients in Ontario (I know, I've tried).

And on the friends who moved here from California. They fully intended to stay in California, but got laid off during the dot.com bust and eventually decided to come to Canada (where they found work) - so this was a genuine 'immigration' for him and over 10 years away for her. Faced with 100% markups they sold their cellar.

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On the issue of bringing wine back via Alberta. While this may be possible it opens up a new set of problems. Technically (and 'legally') you cannot move wine between Provinces without going through the same 'importing' process in each Province. i.e. travelling from Alberta by road, you must 'import' into Saskatchewan, then Manitoba, then Ontario, in each case paying the appropriate 'markups'. Of course, this is totally unenforceable on a reglar basis but the Provinces get very testy about protecting their jurisdiction and may use a large importation as a test case. Although I'm not a lawyer, it seems to me that this is totally contrary to the Charter of Rights - but being a test case is not something I would volunteer for (unless someone else was paying the bills).

Incidentally, this partly explains why the larger Alberta stores do not market wines to potential clients in Ontario (I know, I've tried).

There is a way for you to do this and with your collection it is worth spending some money on legal advice. BTW, the Charter is of no assistance to your plight (PM me if you or others want to know why not).

officially left egullet....

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  • 2 weeks later...

okay. I called the LCBO when I was home and this is the pricelist they sent me (it doesn't include Canadian Customs costs):

GST is 7% of the subtotal amount. Use the following levies in your calculations:

$ 1.00 per 700-750mL bottle of Still Table Wine

$ 1.25 per Litre bottle of Still Table Wine

$ 1.75 per 1.5 Litre bottle of Still Table Wine

$ 3.00 per 700-750mL bottle of Sparkling Wine

$ 3.75 per Litre bottle of Sparkling Wine

$ 1.50 per 700-750mL bottle of Port/Sherries

$ 2.00 per 700-750mL bottle of Spirits

$ 2.50 per Litre bottle of Spirits

$ 3.00 per 1.14 Litre bottle of Spirits

$ 4.50 per 1.75 Litre bottle of Spirits

$ 0.25 per minis (50mL) various

$ 0.05 per can or bottle Beer and Ale

Will keep updating all of you as I learn more.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay, this question is related but different. A friend is visiting from Toronto. She wants to take 6 bottles back to Toronto with her in her carry-on luggage, and is happy to pay the duty, customs etc. on them. What does she do? Just tell them at Canadian customs that she's got these bottles and they make her pay when she re-enters the country? Is she even allowed to bring these extra bottles in with her, when she'll only have been in Europe for a total of 3 weeks?

Thanks - Freckles

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Two issues.

The easy one is that duties etc amount to around 70% of value (and the first 1.5 litres will be duty free - all assuming bearer is 19 yrs or older).

So if the value of the 4 extra botles is $8 each (Cdn) she'll pay around $20.

The bigger issue is that the airline may not allow them as carry-on! Most International airlines only allow 6Kg (13 lbs) of carry-on luggage (charter airlines even less) and the rules are commonly enforced (I know!). Bottles weigh about 3 lb each, so you're over the limit.

If you have (or can obtain) a wine box with moulded styrofoam inserts I recommend playing it safe and using one of these (come in 6's and 12's) and checking the case. Better that than being forced to check them at the airport without special packing.

When I travel, I take these boxes with me (empty) and now have a good supply.

In theory (space and weight permitting) one can bring back up to 45 litres (60 bottles) into Toronto (and pay the duties). There are diferent limits for other provinces, but all have a minimum of 9 litres (12 bottles).

And airlines are STRICTLY enforcing the weight limit on checked bags (2 pieces, each max 32Kgs or 70 lbs). On a recent trip (British Airways) I had a box packed with 20 bottles - total weight 34 Kgs. I had to open the box and remove 2 of the bottles, which I then brought as carry-on. A relative (on a separate BA trip) had to remove clothing and wear it as his luggage (only 1 piece) was also slightly overweight. And since 2004 there has been no provision to carry overweight luggage - you can no longer even pay extra. Neither will they allow one to ship personal baggage (also possible before 2004). You can, however, take extra pieces (subject to 32 Kg weight allowance for each). Each extra piece will cost between $150 and $200!!! Of course they don't refund you anything if you don't take your 2 'valid' pieces.

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This was very helpful; thank you. Any idea where one could buy a wine box with moulded styrofoam inserts??? Thank you.

If you have (or can obtain) a wine box with moulded styrofoam inserts I recommend playing it safe and using one of these (come in 6's and 12's) and checking the case. Better that than being forced to check them at the airport without special packing.

When I travel, I take these boxes with me (empty) and now have a good supply.

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  • 5 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
They tell me I'll need FDA #s for every wine.  What's an FDA #, please, and where will I be able to find it online?  THanks.

you dont need a fDa#

that is so stupid

just show up at the airport with the full invoice of the wines you are importing

and it will be ok

believe me i do this every week

and there is no way to save money in alberta if your residence is ontrario!

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  • 4 weeks later...
They tell me I'll need FDA #s for every wine.  What's an FDA #, please, and where will I be able to find it online?  THanks.

I emailed you when you originally posted (EGullet fails to recognise me when I attempt to sign in, and hasn't responded to my emails).

But I seem to have entered via the back door this time and can respond here.

The code is:

2206.00.50.90 for 'wine'

or

2204.21.10.92 for 'red wine'

But as mentioned above - all ports of entry know these codes and they apply across the board (technically less for US wines under FTA, but the difference is minimal - under 1 cent per litre).

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  • 2 weeks later...

With the changes to shipping laws in the US, specifically NY, I am thinking about getting a storage locker in Niagara or Buffalo to receive wine from the various mailers I am on. I was previously getting things sent to Washington state. I know that there was some discussion about what it would cost etc. in Ontario. Has any additional specific details been determined (Customs does not give you a very straight answer). I would like to bring in a case at a time. I know there is GST etc. but if I am going to bring things like Harlan through I want to have costs really hammered out. I want to be entirely above board also. Does anyone know if there are any current lobbies on the Ontario Gov regarding the same that I can assist with. I also know there are agents out there that get some very good wines and keep them for themselves as the purchasers instead of making them available (I am sure if you dig a little you can find out who and what wine). Has anyone thought about setting up their own agency? Do you think it would work if you were on the mailers and were getting good allocations of this stuff and just bringing it through the LCOB as an "agent". Seems to me that some things come through agents at a reasonable mark up above the US retail costs even with the agents 20-25% cut (case in point the 2001 Shafer Hillside Select which was $250 through Rogers but is $175 US retail on release so that is a very good deal since if you were to purchase on your own and bring it up I suspect it may cost much more). There was a similar dicussion some time ago in the Montreal forum and there was a reference to a potential permit one could get through the LCBO but I suspect there is no similar one in Ontario?

officially left egullet....

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  • 1 month later...

Basically - forget it. It's getting even worse now.

Importers are having their 'samples' assessed at "true" values rather than sample prices. The 'diplomatic route' has been clamped down on.

And at each of my last crossings of the border (one by car, one by plane) I was delayed for several hours while the agent searched the internet for prices - and came up with ridiculous values (which I'm now appealing). My only option was to not pay and have the wine destroyed (example a wine now out-of-stock at LCBO where it retailed for $36 was assessed a value of $160US per bottle and charges of about 70% applied - I only paid as this was so clear-cut that I'm confident I'll get a refund).

Any lawyers around who can help with this?

And I know several agents - none of whom are prepared to risk attempting to 'fool' the ALGO or LCBO - the fines are huge. Remember that US retail includes a mark-up so that our importers (such as Rogers) are paying wholesale and paying all government charges.

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