Border Tip- What happens if you wear the clothing you purchased and you get caught?
You head down to the US for a bit of day shopping, you are at the outlets and make a few purchases. In particular you buy a very nice jacket, it costs $150, and same jacket in Canada would be $400. You are worried about paying the duty on this jacket, you think to yourself, “I’ll just wear it back, they will never know” You want to keep the receipt for warranty or exchange though so you decide to just place the receipt in your wallet in a hidden sleeve, “perfect you think”. You pick up a 6 pack of beer on the way back and you are waiting in line. You have spent $300 on clothing but don’t want to tell about the jacket so you are thinking you will say $150 + the beer. You are a few cars away, a bit nervous about pulling up to the booth; you don’t lie as a rule. No big deal you think, it’s just a little lie, not like they are cops I won’t get arrested if they found out, people do it all the time right?
You pull up to the booth and a young female CBSA officer greets you with a big smile as you hand her your passport.
-She says still smiling: “How long were you gone?”
You reply: “Oh, just a few hours, as your eyes dart a bit” – She is very pleasant; everyone always says the female officers are so bitchy all the time.
-She says:” What is the total value of your purchases today?
You reply:”Uh, I spent about $150”
She says: “Ok, any alcohol or tobacco products today?”
You reply:”Uh, yes just a 6 pack of beer”
-She replies: “Is there anything else you have to declare today?”
You are thinking she can see you sweat now; your new jacket is in plain sight.
You reply: “Uh, no nothing else”
Still smiling and being very pleasant She says:” Sir your vehicle has been selected for a random exam today, I will need you to pull into stall #3 on the left and proceed inside, bring this slip with you”
You reply: “I have to go inside, really?
-She says: “Yes sir, you have been selected for a computer generated random exam today, please bring all of your recipes inside with you but leave all your personal items inside your vehicle, just proceed to stall # 3”
You reply: “Ok”Great, you think, a random exam, what are the chances I get a random exam the day I decide to wear my jacket?”
You proceed inside, 2 male CBSA officers greet you, they ask you to empty your pockets, had them your cell phone and wallet. You are asked a few questions about weapons in your car and they ask for your keys. After a 15-20 min exam of your vehicle they return. They now look through your wallet and find the receipt; it lists all the goods you purchased including the jacket you are wearing. You are questioned about the jacket. You admit you wore the jacket to save the duty. One of the officers explains to you that you do not have to pay duty on goods imported from the US to Canada but simply have to pay taxes. Since you failed to make a proper declaration your jacket is seized with forced payment as you concealed the receipt and gave false statements to an officer. The fine is $100 + taxes GST(5%) PST (7%) on $300 = $36, and your name and vehicle is now flagged in the data base for the next 5-7 years. You ask about your Nexus application. The officers tell you that your application will be denied based on this seizure. You think about all of this and realize had you declared everything you would have only paid $36 in taxes, why in the world would you just not declare everything? The above scenario happens often, the average person who would never lie does so at the border to save a few $ or perhaps just wants to be sneaky.
The consequences are serious. My eBook “Crossing the Line” – How to cross a land border stress free will explain everything and keep this from happening to you.