« Zurich greenlights 'sex boxes' for controlled prostitution | Main | Where the rich pawn their luxury goods »

March 13, 2022

Cross-border shopping continues to grow: report

Canadians continue to flock to the United States to shop.

The number of same-day trips made by automobile rose 16 per cent in 2011 from the year before. And, judging by the Ontario crowds enjoying March break this week, 2012 is following along nicely.

“The big reason I go is for the prices. If the prices were the same we wouldn’t go,” one regular border crosser recently told the National Post.

Sure, there are economic pros and cons (as documented here by MSN's Jason Buckland) and security is definitely tighter than it was even a year ago. But, if you can do the math, it's not hard to calculate where you'll be better off, duty and HST included.

But perhaps you still need some help.

With that in mind, the Better Value in Dollar, a good general guide to U.S. shopping for Canadians, provides state-by-state tax rates and local surtaxes, including tips and examples on calculating duty and Canadian taxes from an anonymous Canadian Border Services officer.

Canadians can take $400 worth of goods back with them tax-free if they stay in the U.S. for 48 hours. Passports are now scanned to clock the amount of time being spent there.

Our CBS officer's sample calculation that a $100 jacket purchased in the U.S. costs an Ontario shopper $133.67 is accurate, although he doesn’t seem to include the state tax at point of purchase, which would add on a few bucks depending where you were.

How often do you go cross-border shopping, if at all? What are your reasons for going, or for not going?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...