I got VERY bored today, and wrote this point-by-point to the step-by-step guide, for those thinking of self-brokering…
Obtain a Business Number.
While you could probably do this online, call 1-800-959-5525 and talk to a rep. They’re actually quite nice. Tell them you’re importing a commercial product, and require an individual Business Number for the paperwork. They’ll want personal tax details, and give you the number. That’s it.
If you already have a business (ie.- I’m a consultant with my own registered business), just advise them you want to add an ‘RM’ account to your business.
Identify the goods you want to import.
This is really kind of superficial, but print this page and keep it on-hand: https://glowforge.com/tech-specs/
Determine if you will use the services of a licensed customs broker.
Short answer: NO.
Determine the country of origin for the goods you are importing.
Glowforge will provide this information at the time of shipment. In fact, it should already be attached to the box in an envelope of customs documents when it was shipped. If they didn’t, then email@example.com should be able to provide the BOM (build of materials).
Ensure the goods you wish to import are permitted into Canada.
Short answer: YES. Unless you count lasers as porn. Some people do. I don’t judge.
Determine whether the goods you intend to import are subject to any permits, restrictions or regulations by the CBSA or other government departments.
Again, Glowforge will provide this information when the time comes. Examples of documentation they’ll likely include:
- FCC verification of compliance (for the wireless)
- CE verification of compliance for other
- UL certification (for the electrical and power connections)
- RoHS compliance (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment), for the case design and/or other parts [typically EU nations]
Determine the 10-digit tariff classification number for each item you are importing.
The code is 8456.10.0000 for the laser cutters themselves. Because Glowforge has a separate SKU for the filters, they’ll have different tariff codes (and documentation, above).
Don’t know what the tariff classification of the filter is? Don’t sweat it. It will be listed on the CCD document in bullet 13. Because you have to obtain this document as a key step, you should probably contact the Courier/Carrier to find the details, next.
Determine the applicable tariff treatment and rate of duty.
Keep in mind that this is duty, not taxes. According to the latest CBSA schedule:
An MFN tariff is the lowest possible tariff a country can assess on another country. For example, if a country's lowest tariff is 2% of the value of a good, this is its MFN tariff, and it charges this percentage on an import from a country with most favored nation status.
The United States has a MFN preferential tariff under MUST (Mexico-US Tariff; aka NAFTA), which means that there is no duty on the Glowforge -- unless Donald gets elected and tears up NAFTA.
9. **Determine if your goods are subject to the goods and services tax (GST), excise tax or excise duty.**
Short answer: YES.
10. **Determine the value of the goods you are importing.**
Glowforge will provide an invoice when it ships. That determines the value. Note that this is the value of the **goods** - do not include the carrier/courier **service** fees!
11. **Estimate in advance how much duty and taxes you will be required to pay.**
This is the important part: CBSA uses the Canadian Value of the item, not the US value. You MUST convert the USD to CAD value using the Bank of Canada exchange rate at noon on the day of shipment from Glowforge – not the rate on the date you ordered from Glowforge. [http://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/exchange/10-year-lookup/](http://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/exchange/10-year-lookup/)
So the answers for my Glowforge Basic, if shipped today (exchange rate of 1.3379):
- **Value for Duty = $2669.11 CAD** [$1995 USD x 1.3379]
Value for Duty = (USD$ x BoC rate)
- **Customs Duty = $0.00**
(based on #8 above, there is no customs duty)
- **Value for Tax = $2669.11**
Value for Tax = (Value for Duty) + (Customs Duty)
- **GST = $133.46** ($2669.11 * 0.05)
GST = (Value for Tax) * 0.05 (5% GST)
- **Total Customs and Taxes = $133.46**
Total Customs and Taxes = (Customs Duty) + (GST)
12. **Place your order and select a method of shipping.**
Well if you’re here, you’ve already done that. Shipping has already been decided for you by Glowforge. But if you need a reminder of what you ordered: https://glowforge.com/account
13. **Report your goods.**
Guess what? CBSA will already know, because you’ve blown your CAN$2,500 limit. But you need the courier’s CCD. What’s a CCD? **It’s a document tied to the Tracking Number Glowforge gives you.**
14. **Obtain release of your goods.**
You might as well pay the piper up front – Method 1.
* Tell the courier you want the CCD document for the tracking number. **Make two copies.**
* Glowforge will email you an official invoice when they ship. **Print two copies of that.**
>I feel it's necessary to point out the difference between an INVOICE and PURCHASE ORDER here: A Purchase Order (“Order”) is a request for goods, without fulfillment or payment. An Invoice is a statement of order fulfillment, including payment information. _Get it wrong, and you'll be running around._
* Glowforge SHOULD include copies of the regulatory documents with shipments, but _they are not required to do so_ - it’s the responsibility of the importer. They really should post the documents on their website for retrieval, rather than emailing upon request... but it’s your responsibility to obtain them, print them, and have them handy - GF must provide proof of regulatory abidance, if requested.
Evil side note: Courier companies - acting on presumption of being your broker agent - will sometimes jump the gun and start uploading scans of all the invoices, regulatory documents, etc. into the CBSA database, tied to the CCD of the shipment. Then they just tell you, “Your package is here! Pay our brokerage fees!”
Once the documents are uploaded, they can’t just delete government records. And they can’t destroy attached regulation documents, either. What I’m trying to say is, CBSA will either have the documents thanks to the Courier, or Glowforge can provide you with redundant copies to get the job done.
And that’s it!