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Duty Free Regulations
With hundreds of thousands of Canadian visitors crossing the Niagara River each year for business, shopping, tourism or to use the Greater Buffalo International Airport, there is another benefit they should know is available: duty free shopping.
The rules governing purchases when returning to Canada from Buffalo or Niagara Falls have not changed much in the post-9/11 world. If you are a business leader checking opportunities in the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise’s region, there is a bonus available beyond shovel-ready sites, the region’s productive work force, inexpensive power and a fantastic quality of life. And it’s easy.
The rules governing duty free buying are actually quite simple, and the shorthand version is $50/$400/$750.
If you are in the United States for at least 24 hours, you can purchase $50 worth of goods, with no allowances on alcohol or tobacco; if you are in America for 48 hours or more, those limits rise to $400 with 1.14 liters of liquor or 1.5 liters of wine or 24 355 ml of beer or one carton (200 cigarettes) or 50 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco or 200 tobacco sticks; after seven days in America, you have a $750 purchase maximum, with the same options on liquor, wine, beer and tobacco. All three options are allowed at any frequency during a month.
In addition, duty free purchases are immune from the new combined national and provincial sales tax, the HST, of 13 percent. You may also make those purchases prior to leaving Canada or when you return.
Duty free stores are open to partnering with businesses on trades, discounts, incentives and cooperative arrangements for employees. Duty free stores maintain customer loyalty lists containing tens of thousands of Canadians and Americans.
Duty free shopping is generally available 24/7 all 365 days and has been available for nearly 25 years. One duty free store near Buffalo is the third-largest duty free store in the world and is responsible for more sales of Crown Royal whisky than any other single store in the world. It also sells more Absolut vodka than any other retail store in North America.
For an easy primer on duty-free regulations for Canadian or American shoppers, go to www.dutyfree.ca or call 1-800-361-1302.