Duty-Free and Sales Tax Exemption Rules for Canadian Visitors

The Department of Revenue reminds Washington retailers and consumers that British Columbia residents do not qualify for the nonresident sales tax exemption.  Retailers that provide the exemption are liable for any uncollected sales tax if audited.  Refer to this website for more information:


For Canadians returning to Canada from the U.S.:

Less than 24 hours: No exemption. Yes, contrary to popular belief, this means that if you’re doing a cross-border day-trip, everything you bring back is subject to applicable duty and taxes. That includes alcohol. Anecdotally, many travelers report being waved through by the agent and not charged duty and taxes for the purchases they’ve declared. But don’t count on it.

24 hours or more: $200 This limit has increased from the previous $50. You can claim exemption in this category if you have been away at least 24 hours but haven’t been away long enough for the 48-hour exemption. But keep in mind that if you bring back more than $200 during this period, you’re liable for duty and taxes on the full amount. Plus, you’re not entitled to bring back any alcohol or tobacco without paying duty and taxes on it; for that, you have to stay away 48 hours or more.

48 hours or more: $800 This limit has increased from the previous $400. Within this amount, you can bring back a certain amount of alcohol and tobacco according to these guidelines. For alcohol, that’s 1.5 liters of wine, a total of 1.14 liters of alcoholic beverages OR a maximum of 8.5 liters of beer or ale.

7 days or more: $800 This limit has increased from the previous $750. Tobacco and alcohol limits are as above for 48 hours.


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