: Moving cross-Canada and crossing the US/Cdn Border with household effects



Addy
2011-06-11, 09:37 PM
We have a moving company moving most of our stuff, but there's some items they can't transport. Most items I'm not worried about, but we have a fair sized liquor stash and I'm hoping we can transport it (most bottles are open) across the border and back without paying duties.

I've checked the Canada Border Services Agency website and a search for "moving" came up with a LOT of results and most seem geared towards moving into Canada (vs simply crossing the border and coming back in one trip).

Does anyone here have any recent experience crossing the border on a within-Canada move?

marina628
2011-06-11, 10:15 PM
Fairly certain that you have to stay within the limits when it comes to alcohol and tobacco.Probably why the moving companies will not transport it.

Pigzfly
2011-06-12, 12:23 AM
Uhhh... I would not base my decisions on this, but our friends moved across the country, purchased alcohol in the states, put it into their uhaul and it was fine.

Try calling CBS?

kcowan
2011-06-12, 11:41 AM
My experience is crossing into the US (Alexandria NY) in a houseboat. They said that personal use open bottles were fine. This was before the days of Homeland Security.

This created a problem with wine.

humble_pie
2011-06-12, 02:07 PM
Q: why did the canadian cross the border into the US transporting a significant inventory of wine, still sealed in bottles, when wine is so much cheaper in the good ol US of A.

A: canuck thought prohibition was still on.

(signed)
brioche bronfman

HaroldCrump
2011-06-12, 09:13 PM
q: Why did the canadian cross the border into the us transporting a significant inventory of wine, still sealed in bottles, when wine is so much cheaper in the good ol us of a.

A: Canuck thought prohibition was still on.
rotfl!

Addy
2011-06-12, 09:15 PM
I'm calling CBS hopefully this week if I can get time at the office to call, their hours suck!! I'm hoping we don't have to get rid of it before we go - we're past the age of having a wild party just to get rid of it so we'd have to dump it :(

The moving company isn't crossing the border, they can't transport bottles of liquids more than 250mL (cleaning solutions, booze, shampoo, etc) due to the mess it makes when it breaks.

fersure
2011-06-12, 10:02 PM
Technically, you can't even move the wine across provincial borders without paying taxes in each jurisdiction.

See the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/I-3/FullText.html)
Notwithstanding any other Act or law, no person shall import, send, take or transport, or cause to be imported, sent, taken or transported, into any province from or out of any place within or outside Canada any intoxicating liquor, except such as has been purchased by or on behalf of, and that is consigned to Her Majesty or the executive government of, the province into which it is being imported, sent, taken or transported, or any board, commission, officer or other governmental agency that, by the law of the province, is vested with the right of selling intoxicating liquor.

As for travelling with purchased wine using the US interstates.
1) You would be subject to the US limits on the importation of alcohol. You will have to pay duties and taxes on any amount in excess of your quota, which is a couple bottles of wine or hard liquor. If you don't declare it and your vehicle is searched, it will be seized and you will be barred entry into the US for life.
2) If you were able to smuggle it into the US, you would still be subject to Canadian import laws. You are allowed 1.4L of liquor or 24 beers if you were gone more than 48 hours. Anything in excess, you will have to pay duty and taxes in the province to which you are travelling. Don't declare and get caught? Duties, taxes and hefty penalties, plus you will go into Revenue Canada's database as a smuggler. You will have your vehicle and bags searched every time you enter Canada for the next five years.

Have fun!

kcowan
2011-06-13, 11:38 AM
Q: why did the canadian cross the border into the US transporting a significant inventory of wine, still sealed in bottles, when wine is so much cheaper in the good ol US of A.

A: canuck thought prohibition was still on.

(signed)
brioche bronfmanWe didn't - we had to take a just in time approach and buy wine when we were about to drink it. So the US purchases were limited to local consumption.

Addy
2011-06-13, 08:31 PM
As for travelling with purchased wine using the US interstates.
1) You would be subject to the US limits on the importation of alcohol. You will have to pay duties and taxes on any amount in excess of your quota, which is a couple bottles of wine or hard liquor. If you don't declare it and your vehicle is searched, it will be seized and you will be barred entry into the US for life.

Thanks fersure, your post helped considerably. We wouldn't attempt to smuggle it cross Canada/US border, so that leaves option 1) for us. Do you have a link or anything official that says this? I tried searching CBS's website and I couldn't find it by browsing, and when I searched the results were overwhelming in numbers.

DanFo
2011-06-13, 08:56 PM
I say pack it where it's easily found and take the risk.....Some customs officals won't care if your just cutting through the states to transit back into Canada.......declare it if they ask you but sometimes those questions don't come up or they'll give you a free pass, Last time i came back through the states from out west all they asked was where i was going and then if i was leaving anything in the states....when i said no he said have a good day and never asked about anything in my car...If its a substantial amount and you don't want to risk losing it take the extra time and drive within Canada..I enjoyed the trip!

Mark Rose
2011-06-14, 03:28 AM
If you're travelling in summer, go through northern Ontario along the lake. It's an extra six hours (if going to/from Toronto), but a far prettier drive. I towed a 2000 lb Uhaul trailer behind my small car without issue; the hills aren't that bad. There are almost no trucks as they most go through the states (via Chicago or Sault Ste Marie).

m3s
2011-06-14, 12:37 PM
Addy, you're not allowed to transport alcool and should be briefed as such by the transport section responsible for your move. That said, I've crossed the border with a boatload of stuff and they didn't care seeing as I was transiting and had military ID and document to prove it. I've also gone to the US with a convoy of military vehicles, and know many people who've moved to/from the US. If you have papers, they'll wave you through unless something is fishy. They once confiscated my Alberta beef jerky that was on the dash in plain sight. They won't likely inspect what's packed, but if they catch you hiding something youre flagged and it's not worth it. I have a friend who had lots of tatoos and drove an old Merc with dark windows and had a taste for cigars of the Cuban types and loud rap. Common sense applies. Why risk breaking such rules? (His boss heard about it the same day)

kcowan
2011-06-15, 09:07 AM
I wonder if he could get the alcohol sealed in boxes by the mover or customs in Canada? I know that boxes packed and sealed by movers are treated differently than boxes packed by owner.

Addy
2011-06-15, 09:59 AM
I spoke with CBS and there's no problem with packing up personal effects and bringing them cross-border (I specifically asked about open bottles of booze). He told me we should do two things to help ease the process: 1) have a list of whats in each box, and 2) if we want, he advised us to "check in" with CBS before we cross into the US so they can mark each box or inspect as necessary to prepare for our re-entry into Canada.

I have an email into the US side to check what their policies are on this, but the CBS person said it most likely will not be an issue if we can show that clearly we are simply travelling through the US, but advised us we need to check with the US side before assuming anything.

Let's see how long, if at all, the US Border Services emails me back :(

Addy
2011-06-22, 11:39 AM
Just an update, the US side emailed me back, essentially saying the same thing the canadian side did. If we box up the booze and have a list of whats in each box, there should be no problems. We MAY have to pay duty, which can add up, but most people I have spoke with were just waved through after giving the border officer a list of what was in the boxes (with the booze listed).

"Duty is generally 3% of value and the IRS excise tax is generally between 21-31cents per 750ml bottle of wine, 67 cents/champagne, and $2.14/ hard liquor."

So I'm not sure if it's worth taking booze across, especially opened bottles which they COULD count as full and charge the full duty and tax. Chances are they won't, but as long as we're aware of the chance it may happen then we can decide if we want to or not.

I had asked about our bbq propane tank, which is also fine as long as it's a standard size (ie not a commercial tank you would see on the back of a semi-truck).

the-royal-mail
2011-06-22, 12:12 PM
Interesting - any idea why you would have to possibly pay duty for the booze? You haven't purchased it on your trip, right? If you had it both before entering and after exiting their country, I am not sure why you would have to be taxed on that.

humble_pie
2011-06-22, 12:34 PM
addy moving is a stressful experience & sometimes when i am stressed i find myself trying to relieve the anxiety by focusing maybe fixating on an irrelevant minor topic. So as to avoid or put off dealing with the elephant in the parlour.

your opened liquor bottles are irrelevant. Your kids are going to be taken away from their best friends, possibly forever, and certainly away from the schools they have gotten used to. They are moving towards an unknown future. You yourself will have to leave neighbours & workmates with whom you've forged strong & affectionate ties. Wouldn't it be better to focus on this highly-charged department.

i still feel guilty about the time we moved out of one country back to canada. My daughter had to say good-bye to her best friend. A day or 2 later my child began to sob & wail. She was inconsolable. " We're going away and i'm never going to see anne-marie christiane again." My daughter's heart was broken & to this day i still feel badly that had to happen to her, a sweet young girl aged 12.

as for the bottles you couldn't possibly have that many. It's not a licensed saloon you're closing. Drink em up or give em away. You've told us you have 2 more months before moving day. I can't think of anything more tacky than opening up a carton of stuff in the sparkling new home & finding a collection of grungy bottles with tired old splashes of wine, whiskey & rum inside em.

jamesbe
2011-06-22, 12:56 PM
I'd just drive through Canada, it will turn out to probably take less time and be less hassle then traveling through the US. No lines, no customs and no worries.

I've driven from Ottawa - Winnipeg and thought about the US route but it doesn't really save you any "real" time. So not worth it IMO.

And if you are still moving to Pembroke it's a good 3 hours from the border anyways :P

m3s
2011-06-23, 03:12 AM
I'd just drive through Canada, it will turn out to probably take less time and be less hassle then traveling through the US. No lines, no customs and no worries.

I've driven from Ottawa - Winnipeg and thought about the US route but it doesn't really save you any "real" time. So not worth it IMO.

And if you are still moving to Pembroke it's a good 3 hours from the border anyways :P

Driving through the US is far cheaper and interesting as far as the variety of places to stop, routes to take and things to see. The roads are much nicer and the gas is much cheaper. They are also super nice to military which is nice to experience for awhile. We can also stay at US bases for dirt cheap and stock up at their cheap stores on base. I did the Cdn route once over the Great Lakes and never again unless I'm riding a motorbike or taking someone who's never been.

As for the alcool, the typical thing to do is to throw a going away "finish-the-booze" party. I gave away several bottles of good scotch in Canada. If you want to save some money, stock up on new booze in La Capital Nationale on the way by (their alcool superstores put shame to anything in Canadia) or even at the duty frees on the borders. I've always been told not to carry booze/propane or fuel. I know 1 person who had their truck burn down with all their belongings - not worth the risk imo - he almost didn't get an insurance claim either. If you get in an accident the last thing you need is a leaky propane tank, besides if it gets punctured fast. I can't beleive you want to pack that :eek:

I would check with insurance on these things as well, not just the CBS. I've always been briefed no alcool, no propane, no fuel by the military F&E section