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Old June 1st, 2010, 23:37   #19
Join Date: Jun 2010
If you have a CBSA office a reasonable distance away you can avoid the brokerage fee charged by couriers by paying the duties and taxes directly to the CBSA. Here is how:

A courier need your permission to represent you as a broker. The authority for this is found in D1-6-1

"4. Any person who proposes to transact business with CBSA as the agent of another person is responsible for ensuring that the proper authority has been granted. The written authority is often referred to as an agency agreement or a power of attorney."

This means of course you always have the right to clear your goods yourself or using any broker you want. Generally couriers get permission to act as your broker when you sign for the goods, in fact the LVS (low value shipment) regulations specifically allow for them to do this, however they also give you the right to decline to use them.

Now I should mention the information I am referencing for this post is only LVS courier casual goods. That means the goods have to be valued at under $1600 Canadian and not be controlled, prohibited or regulated by an act of Parliament. To qualify as Casual the goods have to be for the personal use of an individual and not be commercial goods.

We find the regulations for LVS courier goods in D 17-4-0

"1. The Courier Low Value Shipment (LVS) Program streamlines the reporting, release and accounting procedures for certain goods imported by courier. Couriers authorized by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to participate in the program may have qualifying goods released by presenting a cargo/release list to the CBSA. To qualify under this program the goods must:
(a) be valued at less than CAN$1,600; and
(b) not be controlled, prohibited or regulated by an Act of Parliament"

So what does LVS mean?

from D17-4-0 again

"11. The cargo/release list for authorized participants of the Courier LVS Program is to be used in place of individual cargo control and release documents for goods valued under CAN$1,600. The list must be presented to the CBSA by the courier before or as soon as the shipments arrive in Canada. It must contain a concise description of the LVS qualifying goods so that the border services officer can determine the admissibility of the goods."

So the courier gives customs information on the goods they are bringing in to Canada.

Next if the goods are not being released at the office they enter Canada at they can move inbond to the office of release. This is important to note because UPS will often argue that the goods have to be released at the office of arrival but this is not true and we know it is not true because the LVS regulations tell us so.

Again from D-17-4-0

"16. When Courier LVS goods arrive in Canada at an office other than the office of release, the in-bond movement of the shipments to the office of release is permitted, provided that the entire container or load is moved inland."

So the courier following these regulations moves your LVS parcel in bond eventually to a distribution centre near the importer. At this point the goods have not been accounted for, that is no duties and taxes have been paid yet, and the courier can not release them to the importer until they have.

So now the goods are in the UPS warehouse near your house and they bring them to your door. Lets see what the D 17-4-0 says about what happens next.

"Release and Accounting
54. Once the CBSA releases the casual goods, the courier delivers the shipment to the importer. The duties and taxes owing are paid by the importer to the courier. Afterwards, the courier or its agent accounts for the goods on an F type entry which is presented to the CBSA before the 24th day of the next month, with the duties and taxes payable by the end of that month."

Ah so you pay the courier your duties and taxes (and brokerage fee), receive your goods and then the courier goes ahead and acts as your broker and pays the duties and taxes with an F type entry the next month.

So what happens if you decide you don't want to pay the duties and taxes and brokerage fee to the courier? Surely the regulations state that the goods have to go back to the office of arrival right? and you have to pay the duties and taxes at that office right?That's what UPS told my friend. Wrong.

D 17-4-0

"56. If an importer wishes to account for the goods himself or herself, the courier does not release the shipment to the importer but holds the goods until the importer presents satisfactory proof that the appropriate duties and taxes have been paid directly to the CBSA. The importer must note the unique shipment identifier number and contact the courier to determine where the goods are held in a bonded warehouse until the release is effected."

So the courier hangs on to the goods which are still in-bond at their warehouse. The courier must provide the importer with information as to where the goods are, what the unique shipment identifier number is (they would have provided this to customs earlier as part of the cargo/release list noted in section 11). Now you the importer can take that information along with a bill or invoice from the shipper to your nearest customs office and get a B15 done for free. Customs will do all the work. Take that back to UPS and then as noted in section 56 of D17-4-0 they must release the goods to you.


Now simply put if a courier, say UPS, arrives at your door and you refuse to pay the duties and taxes, you want to do this:

Ask them where the goods are going now, which will be the nearby warehouse. (they may threaten to take them back to the border warehouse but this does not make sense from a economical sense on their part, is not supported by the LVS regulations and even if they do you can still clear your goods at the office closest to you)

Next ask for the unique shipment identifier number.

Print out a copy of the invoice from the shipper (most online shippers email this to you if not request a copy after you place your order)

Take these three pieces of information with you to your nearest CBSA office and ask for a B15.

Return to UPS with your B15, which will show you paid your duties and taxes and receive your goods.

If they give you any kind of hassle print out a copy of D 17-4-0 to support your right to clear the goods yourself and show that the goods do not have to be accounted for at the border entry office.

Armed with this information my friend was able to get a number from UPS that he brought to customs and was able to get UPS to accept a B15 and release his goods.

Hope folks that are forced to use a courier find this useful. Knowledge is power. By the way all the customs regulations can be found on the CBSA website at
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