A 45-year-old Ottawa man recently found out that making false statements when importing goods into Canada can be a costly mistake.
On January 15, 2017, the man attempted to return to Canada after shopping in Ogdensburg, New York, for the day and declared $300 of goods. He was driving a U.S.-plated vehicle he said a friend had loaned him for a few months. The border services officer referred the driver for a secondary examination, where his story began to unravel.
During the secondary inspection, officers searched the man’s phone and the car. They found emails and documents confirming the car was purchased on the Internet and the “borrowed the car from a friend” scheme was concocted to avoid paying duties and taxes. This led to the individual to admit to having just purchased the car.
The car was detained and the man’s NEXUS card was taken. The value for duty of the vehicle was determined to be $12,084. By failing to properly declare the vehicle, the individual attempted to evade $700 in duties and taxes and the $295 Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) fee. Instead, he paid a $6,646 penalty, plus the applicable duties and taxes and RIV fee. The vehicle was released following payment.
“The single best thing you can do to save time returning to Canada is to simply be open and honest with the CBSA officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don’t hesitate to ask a CBSA officer at a port of entry.” Leanne Sullivan, Chief of Operations, Prescott port of entry
- If you do not declare goods, or if you falsely declare them, border services officers can seize them. This means that you may lose the goods permanently or may have to pay a penalty to get them back. The penalties can range from 25% to 80% of the value of the seized items.
- A record of infractions is kept in the CBSA computer system. If you have an infraction record, you may have to undergo a more detailed examination on future trips.
- Anyone with information about suspicious cross-border activity is encouraged to call the CBSA Border Watch toll-free line at 1-888-502-9060.