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You're allowed to bring goods of a certain value back home without having to pay any duty or import tax. But there's a limit on the amount of tobacco and liquor you can bring back duty-free, and some countries have separate limits for perfumes; for exact figures, check with your customs department. The values of duty-free goods are included in these amounts. When you shop abroad, save all your receipts, as customs inspectors may ask to see them as well as the items you purchased. If the total value of your goods is more than the duty-free limit, you'll have to pay a tax (most often a flat percentage) on the value of everything beyond that limit.
Visitors may bring certain goods into Canada for their own use as "personal baggage." Camping and sports equipment, cameras, tape recorders, and laptops are considered personal baggage. Your own vehicles, vessels, and aircraft may also be imported. Provided these goods are declared upon arrival and taken back out of Canada when you leave, they will not be subject to any duties or taxes. A visitor's goods cannot be used by a resident of Canada, or on behalf of a business based in Canada.
Visitors may bring in the following items duty-free: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and 7 ounces of tobacco; 1 bottle (1.14 liters or 40 imperial ounces) of liquor or 1.5 liters of wine, or 24 355-milliliter (12-ounce) bottles or cans of beer for personal consumption. Any alcohol and tobacco products in excess of these amounts are subject to duty, provincial fees, and taxes. You can also bring in gifts up to a total value of C$60 per gift as long as the gifts do not include alcohol or tobacco.
Note that handguns and semiautomatic firearms are not allowed in Canada. They will be confiscated at the border, and criminal charges may result. Contact the Canadian Firearms Centre, part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, if you intend to travel with rifles and shotguns for hunting purposes.
Canada Border Services Agency (204/983–3500; 800/461–9999 in Canada. www.cbsa.gc.ca.)
Canadian Firearms Centre (www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca.)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (www.cbp.gov.)