Canadians - Shipping question

Hi fellow Cannuck (and apologies to anyone living outside of Canada for making a Canada-only relevant thread).

How are you planning on having your GF shipped to you?

I looked at the price difference between shipping a pro unit to Canada ($603), and shipping to US ($175). Since I live within an hour of the US, I figured it would be cheaper to use a mailbox service in the US and pick it up myself. I found “”, and they charge $5 per package under 150lbs (I’m assuming 2 packages, one for the GF-70lbs and one for the filter-40lbs).

So for $185 + the cost of gas, I can have it shipped and pick it up in the US. But then we have to clear customs with it, and here is where I’m not sure how things work, and I’m doing some research. If anyone has any insights, that would be great.

When you import a product, you have to pay duty and tax on it. I think whether we have it shipped to Canada or pick it up in the US, we would have to pay this amount (either to the shipper who would charge us on delivery, or at the border in person).

I used this page to calculate the duty + tax: I used the category “outdoor living -> power tools”. I’m not sure if there’s a better one.

It estimates tax and duty at $650 (if I put the cost at 5000 -- the Canadian value changes periodically, so I have to guesstimate the actual cost). I think that means that we are not paying any duty on power tools, but have to pay 13% tax.

Does anyone have different information or insights about shipping/importing to Canada?

That sounds about right, although I used Electronics > Printer. Not sure if that is the right designation either. We are a little further from the border so will be just sucking it up and hoping the courier doesn’t gouge us too badly.

I’m going to have it shipped to my house directly (Im in Winnipeg). I considered picking it up from just before the border, but with gas and still having to pay duty… It won’t save me much. Such is the way of the Canadian… haha

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I think I remember reading somewhere that the Pro units and related filter may be shipping at different times and/or locations which would be a bit of a pain in the butt if you were heading to the border for the pickup. I was just planning on going the lazy route and having it shipped to the house.

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I had not thought of the “separate” shipments. If they are close together, I can wait for both packages to arrive before making the trip. But if they are weeks apart, I may not want to wait (especially if the GF is there before the filter).

The other thing I need to investigate is the border exemption limits. I know if you visit the US for 7 days, you have an exemption of $800 on tax and duty. AND, unlike the 48Hr exemption, the items do not need to accompany you back (i.e. you can ship them instead of carrying them across).

If I go to Florida for 2 weeks in March, can I use that exemption at a later time when the GF actually ships?

If I use the $800 exemption on a $4000 purchase, am I only paying tax on $3200 of it? Or does the item need to cost less than $800.

Could my wife use the $800 on the filter, and me the $800 on the GF?

Am I overthinking this?

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I believe it needs to be purchased during the two week trip. Better not to mess around with it as customs could seize your GF if they think you are trying to dodge taxes/duties. Then you would have to pay a penalty to get it on top of the taxes and duties.


Yeah, if I did this, I would make sure everything was on the “up and up”. In other words, before claiming it, I would need written confirmation from the Canadian Border Service that my exemption applies to such a purchase. I would not just “wing it” and try and claim something that does not actually apply.

So I need to research “does it actually apply”.

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Wow I’m an accountant and you’ve put more thought into it than I have. They are all excellent questions that I would like the answer to as well. I planned on calling Canada Border Services (CBSA) or searching through their website (they have a calculator on there) as the time got closer. I’m picking mine up just across the boarder at a shipping company due to the shipping savings. Any potential duty/tax savings are bonus, but I hadn’t got that far yet.

Same about the picking up in in Niagara , US side. I didn’t realize the duties and such were that bad.

@polarbrainfreeze please let us know what you find out with your call to CBA

polarbrainfreeze, I am doing the exact thing you are. I live 30 minutes from the Vancouver/USA border and I will be having my forge shipped to my address right across the line. I use Hagens of Blaine and have been using them for years.

I order from (because they have everything we cant get in Canada) and always get my stuff shipped there. I pay $2.50 per package to pickup and because Amazon tried to ship everything in one box its really a good price.

I have made countless trips over the years and have never been asked to pay duty on anything (except this one time recently, which I will get to). I always declare the full amount I paid for everything and they just waive me through.

OK, now lets get to this one time, which will exactly explain what will happen when you bring your forge back across.

Just after Xmas I went to Best Buy in Washington and bought a new 4K TV (couldn’t get the same one in Canada). I had 1000 US cash to put towards the TV otherwise I would have never got it from the US as the exchange rate was just stupid. Anyway, the total cost of the TV after tax was 1400.00 US. When I got to the border (I have Nexus by the way) I declared it and I was hoping to just get waived through but no such luck this time. I got sent inside to pay the duty.

I thought I would have to pay the duty (taxes) on the 1400.00 amount BUT, that’s not correct. They take the 1400 US and convert it to CAN using the exchange rate for that current day and THEN you pay duty on that new amount! So, damn, that sux. Now I’m paying duty on 1400 + 350 as the exchange rate was .25 so 1750 in total now.

The CAN dollar is tanking fast against the USD and exchange rate is killer. I’m really praying that by the time my forge is shipped the dollar has recovered a bit and the exchange is more reasonable. Otherwise lets just say its around 30 cents like it is today, if the invoice says 4000 US then times .30 and that’s another 1200. So we are at 5200, then pay taxes on that which for me in BC is 12%. Total is 624.00. So that’s a grand total of 5824.00 CAN. This is when being a Canadian kinda sux! lol.

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The duties actually aren’t that bad. It’s that taxes that get you. Thankfully in Alberta we only have to worry about the GST (for now).

Thanks for the info. The scenario where “the border agent just waves me through” would be awesome, but I can’t count on that.

The other question I have for the CBA has to do with Beta units. On the off chance that any of us Canadians are chosen for Beta testing (probably unlikely), how does Tax and Duty work on something that is not officially ours? It will be shipped to us for a small period of time and then we have to ship it back once the Beta period is finished.

Do we have to pay taxes/duty on that item? Perhaps Glowforge has to mark the value of the unit very low, since it’s only a prototype and not the real thing?

Does anyone have any other questions regarding this before I contact the CBA?

Unfortunately, @cwilson21 that 30 cent difference is for the other way - $1 CAD = $0.70 USD, but coming this way, its US$1.00 = CDN$1.43 right now - that puts the Canadian value of the pro, even at the US$3995 early bird price, just over CAD$5700 right now - OUCH!!!
We are in Calgary, so only a couple of hours from the border, but having just moved back here from Arizona last spring after 14+ years down there (don’t get me started about this winter, the first one we have seen in 16 years…) and having the recent memory of our dealings with customs on both sides for importing our vehicles, the $400 extra shipping cost amount for both the Forge and the filter seems well worth it to us, since that transfers the hassle of navigating that process to the shipper!
Of course, that vehicle import thing was a more complicated process than the Glowforge Import will be, in that when importing a vehicle, you are both exporting it from the US and importing it into Canada, and there is a two-day waiting period built into one of those steps (which I had missed when researching the process beforehand) Ugh.

At my old job we had to ship material across the border for lab work (both directions). We just had to contact the border ahead of time and it wasn’t terribly difficult to have things cross the border without paying for duties, taxes, import fees. Definitely something that needs to be figured out beforehand though.

Crossed into the US at the International Falls, MN station 25 years ago just before 5pm on a Friday. The border agents were literally windmilling their arms to traffic. We could have had cocaine stacked to the roof in the backseat and gotten through both sides that day. All the other times we’ve crossed it’s been with dogs and guns at a barren ND-Saskatchewan border post where you expect to be inspected. If for no other reason than you’re the first person they’ve seen that week. If you are thinking about risking it, I’d suggest strategically picking your time and place :smirk: - of course I’d never recommend anything illegal.

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LOL. I’d rather not “risk it”. I’ve thought about it, but it would be SOOO frustrating to get the GF confiscated.

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I ordered the pro and I’m going to have it shipped directly to me. I budgeted around 900 dollars for taxes and duties being in Nova Scotia. Even if that amount is a little high I feel like by the time I get the glowforge it will be mostly paid off working my day job

In my experience there is one more reason to go pick it up and bring it back yourself. If you do, you just get stuck with the duty/taxes. If you get it shipped to your address in Canada then theirs a very good chance that it will also have to pay a brokerage fee by the shipping company. UPS is notorious for that.

I have never had any problems with paying brokerage on anything shipped via USPS and then coming into Canada and to me via Canada Post. But with UPS I have had to pay brokerage once and will never do it again. I don’t know about FedEx or Puralator but I have a feeling it will be the same thing and they will charge a fee. (Now I do think it depends on the class of shipping the shipper used as well, standard charges brokerage but first class or express, doesn’t. I think)

Now I hope everyone that’s getting it shipped to their door gets lucky and doesn’t have to pay anything more than the duty/taxes but don’t be too shocked if they come and tell you that you owe more than you thought.

It might just come down to what courier and what class is used.

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