When you buy an item from the U.S. and have it shipped to Canada, there are a number of fees you have to pay for in addition to shipping. Of course, you have to pay the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), and you also have to pay a handling fee. Depending on the value of your item, you may also have to pay the Goods and Service Charge.
As if all those extra taxes and fees weren’t enough, you also have to pay brokerage fees to the service handling the shipping. Brokerage fees are paid for the convenience of having someone else deal with clearing your item through customs and paying the taxes and fees on your behalf.
When you ship an item to Canada from the U.S. using the United Postal Service (UPS), you can expect to pay a high amount in brokerage fees. When you combine those high fees with the other taxes and fees that you are already required to pay by the government, you could easily end up spending two or three times the amount of the original value of your item.
While you can save money by making different choices about the method of shipping — such as choosing a longer delivery time — you can’t do anything about the taxes and fees you must pay. For the brokerage fee, you can opt to use another service that costs you less money.
Third-party customs brokers like Clear Smart can help you save a lot of money on these fees. How much you save will depend on how much the value of the item is. The more valuable the item, the more you are able to save. Considering that fees multiply in step with the value of the item, you can end up saving quite a lot of money this way.
The only other way to save yourself this money is to handle customs clearance yourself — which can take hours out of your day and require you to drive to the CBSA office, which may not be located anywhere near where you live.
Using a third-party customs broker is the best way to save money while enjoying the convenience of having someone else deal with this work for you. In order to use a third-party customs broker, you simply need to notify UPS that you will be using another broker and then forward the contact information. Easy and inexpensive!