It can be difficult to figure out exactly how much you need to pay in duties and taxes when you’re importing a shipment. This is because each country has different regulations surrounding customs duties and taxes. The amount you owe can change depending on which products you’re importing, where the products were made, and the shipping method you’ve chosen.
Fortunately, you can estimate how much you’ll pay in duties and taxes with our free customs duty calculator. Whether you’re importing to Canada or the US, you’ll be able to develop a proper budget for your import-export business with this duties and taxes calculator.
When to use the customs duty calculator
Our customs duty calculator was created with you in mind. You can use it for your import-export business or your individual international shipments. It’s incredibly easy to use and takes just a few minutes to gather the necessary information.
If you’re new to the import-export world, you might not be familiar with the complex tax and duty requirements. Or perhaps you’re a seasoned importer, but you’re debating whether to begin importing a new product. Either way, you’ll get a better idea of what you need to pay in duties and taxes with this calculator.
Maybe you’re importing a car for personal use. In that case, you’ll want to use this helpful tool to calculate how much you need to set aside for duty and tax payments. Keep in mind that some cars may have high customs duty requirements and may not be worth purchasing outside your country, even if the savings seem sizable.
How to answer each question
Our free duties and taxes calculator requires just a few minutes of your time because it only asks you 10 questions. If you want to import a vehicle, you can specify that in the first question. If not, select “Import any item.”
The next question asks whether you’ll be importing the product to Canada or the US. At this time, our customs duty calculator does not provide information about importing to other countries. You will need to research the duties and taxes for your specific country if it’s not the US or Canada.
After that, you’ll be asked to specify which country you’re importing from. This is the country where the goods are coming from, whether or not they were manufactured there.
Once you enter the specific item you’re importing, you can select the country where the goods are made. This may or may not be the same as the country you’re importing from. For example, you might be shipping handbags from Germany to Canada that were manufactured in China.
Next, you’ll need to enter the total value of the goods. You can choose whether to make this amount in USD or CAD. Keep in mind that the value of the goods needs to be accurate to properly calculate the taxes and duties. If you don’t know the value of the goods, contact your supplier to find out.
The question that follows asks you whether the products are intended for individual or business use. If you’re planning to resell the products, choose “Business.” If the products will be used by you and your family (i.e. a personal car), select “Individual.”
I would recommend you request a copy of the quote so you can look back on it whenever you need to. After specifying whether you’ve purchased the product yet, you just have one question left to answer. This one is about whether you’re planning to ship by ocean or air. If you haven’t decided yet, learn more about which option is best for you here.
Once you’ve answered all of the questions, you will see a page that shows a list of all of the taxes and duties you will owe for your shipment. Of course, we can’t guarantee that these are entirely accurate without knowing more about your specific situation, but this will give you a good estimate that you can base your budget on.
What your results mean
With all of the abbreviations that stand for different taxes and duties, it can be confusing to figure out what they actually mean. First, you should know that the standard types of customs duties and taxes in Canada are quite different from those in the US.
In Canada, you’ll typically be required to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) regardless of which items you’re importing or where they come from. Canadian GST is 5% of the total value of your shipment. You will also need to pay a customs clearance fee that depends on your shipment’s value as well as GST on the customs clearance fee. If the customs clearance fee is $150, for example, you’ll have to pay an additional $7.50 as GST on this fee.
When it comes to US customs duties and taxes, things get a little bit more complicated. Unlike Canada, the US does not have a national tax that is imposed on imports. Rather, there are a bunch of duties that are collected based on the items, their value, and their origin.
The general customs duties are calculated based on the specific type of item you are shipping. You can get a more accurate estimate of customs duties when you know your product’s harmonized tariff schedule (HTS) code.
Other import fees you may need to pay when shipping to the US include the merchandise processing fee (MPF) and the harbor maintenance fee (HMF). The latter is only applicable when you ship via ocean freight.
Aside from these import fees, you will need to purchase a customs bond when shipping to the US if your shipment is worth more than $2,500 (USD). You’ll also pay a small customs bond underwriting fee.
If you have other customs duties and taxes listed in your results, feel free to reach out to one of our experts with any questions. With more than half a million items imported to date, BorderBuddy is your go-to customs broker with the experience required to handle your unique situation. Contact us today.