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The 12 GST/HST Categories in Canada


If you regularly travel back and forth between the United States and Canada then you probably also bring personal goods across the border quite a bit.  And if you suddenly become aware that this is occurring on a regular basis then you should become more acquainted with the various rates, fees, duties, and taxes that go along with it.

If you aren’t sure, you can always seek  Canadian Clearit customs consulting for more information. However, here is some information to get you started.  There are 12 categories of goods, each assigned with their own international duties and taxes (Goods and Services Tax and Harmonized Sales Tax).

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CATEGORY 1:  20% duty and a 5% GST/HST

This category contains various consumer goods like:

  • bedding
  • carpeting
  • curtains
  • ice skates
  • life belts
  • life jackets
  • linens
  • roller skates
  • sleeping bags
  • towels

CATEGORY 2:  18% duty and a 5% GST/HST

This category classifies only clothing and footwear.

CATEGORY 3:  7% duty

This category consists of basic, non-taxable groceries, dairy, and baked goods including:

  • produce
  • canned food
  • bread
  • cakes
  • pies
  • butter
  • milk
  • cheese
  • cream
  • yogurt
  • eggs
  • frozen fruits and vegetables
  • fresh/frozen meat
  • medications
  • pasta

CATEGORY 4:  8% duty and a 5% GST/HST

This is the largest group of consumer duties; to include consumer products and electronics like:

  • kitchen appliances
  • ceramics
  • audio/video equipment
  • watches
  • handbags
  • sports and exercise equipment
  • sunglasses
  • light bulbs
  • lighting fixtures
  • tools
  • tires
  • camera film
  • vacuum cleaners
  • cameras
  • cookware
  • machinery
  • taxable grocery items
  • bicycles
  • tricycles
  • cosmetics
  • toiletries

CATEGORY 5: only the standard 5% GST/HST

Yet another larger grouping, this category extends the previous category:

  • cassette tapes and cassette recorders
  • antiques
  • flashlights
  • glassware
  • motorcycle parts
  • sewing machines
  • computer parts
  • computer equipment [parts]
  • breadmakers
  • rice cookers
  • electric shavers
  • calculators
  • fax machines
  • answering machines
  • curling irons
  • video game consoles
  • video game peripherals
  • toasters

CATEGORY 6: PST exempt goods (no duties or fees)

CATEGORY 7: 5% GST/HST on books

CATEGORIES 8, 9, 10, 11, 12:  varies

These categories classify varying degrees of beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, and other tobacco products.

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