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TIP -- Bring back food across the border without paying taxes [moved from Ontario board]

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TIP -- Bring back food across the border without paying taxes [moved from Ontario board]

CookatHomeinLondon | Mar 17, 2010 03:24 PM

I wanted to share a money-saving tip to fellow chowhounds that I picked up from a post here -- it was mentioned in the middle of a many-reply post and I thought it deserved its own heading.

Most of us live close to the U.S. border -- I'm an hour from Port Huron, MI And many of us do some of our food shopping in the U.S., either for products that aren't available her, aren't of the same quality here or are much more expensive here. So long as you have a place that will accept packages for you in Michigan or NY, you can order just about anything online so long as it doesn't have to be immediately frozen or chilled.

Until this week, though, I didn't realize that "basic groceries" are exempt not just from duty but from tax when crossing the border to Ontario. The reason is this: Such groceries aren't taxes when bought in Ontario either. While I don't have yet the full list of what is conidered "basic groceries" the summary of the list is extensive.

Earlier today I picked up $600 worth of gourmet food, mostly higher-priced sardines from France and Portugal. When I crossed the border, I declared and told the customs official they were exempt from taxes as "basic groceries." A colleague of the official looked it up and said, "He's right." That's $80 saved in taxes.

The first of the sardines, by the way, were delicious -- Cole's from Portugal. Very meaty and firm with a mild fish taste complimented by smoke.

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