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Top 7 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Shipping from Canada to the US

Tom Davison
  •  
  •  
June 17, 2021

Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. It happens to the best of us, and all we can ever do is learn from them, take note of them, and make sure to do things differently the next time around.

The same law applies to eCommerce and shipping. Even seasoned business owners who ship internationally still find some transactions and days needing improvement. With the continuously changing processes in the e-commerce industry, shipping to another country should also adapt to these changes.

Nonetheless, as an experienced institution on shipping from Canada to US and vice versa, we have compiled some of the common mistakes you shouldn’t commit when delivering your goods cross-border. 

1. Not learning how to compute your tax and duty rate

When shipping through a company, it is handy to get a receipt and give a one-time payment. However, if you want to know the real cost of cross-border shipping or answer the question, “how much is shipping from US to Canada?” you need to dive into details and get to know how taxes and duty rates are computed

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) takes care of all incoming shipments from another country. They will also be responsible for computing your tax and duty rate. 

Goods less than USD800 will be duty-free*, which means no tax shall be paid. For informal entry or shipment costing more than USD800 but less than USD 2500 and formal entry costing USD2500 and above, tax and duty rate will be computed accordingly. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Know the value of your shipment, and check whether they classify as duty-free, informal entry, or formal entry. 
  2. Check the type of goods from the Harmonized Tariff Schedule website to know how much you will pay. For instance, if you are shipping wool, find the specific classification for wool on the table. 
  3. Please note that there are goods where you need to still pay taxes because of their classification despite having a cost of less than USD800*. 
  4. On the website, you will also see the rates of duty. Check the duty rate for wool whose specific classification is tapestry fabrics and upholstery fabrics. This classification has a general duty rate of 7%. 
  5. Get the tax rate by multiplying the rate of duty by the value of your shipment. If your wool is USD900, multiply this by the 7% duty rate, and you’ll get USD63, which you need to pay as tax. 

Knowing how tax and duty rate works can help you decide which shipping company charges the least despite all the taxes they shoulder. Some shipping companies do not cover these payments, so you need to compute the details on your own, especially if you plan to ship with them long-term. 

2. False declaration of shipment value

New or old in the business, we all want to achieve the cheapest way to ship to Canada from US or vice versa. Not declaring the actual value in an attempt to lower your tax and duty rate might give you more harm than good. It could cost you more because the US CBP will hold your items, conduct an investigation, and even hold you liable for grave dishonesty. Hence, it is better to always go with the rules clean. Besides, there are legal ways to cut the cost.

3. Shipping from Canada more than the allowed quota

If you are unaware of the items that can be shipped with a quota limit, you can be in trouble paying more than you should. Picture this—you are exporting Canadian worsted wool, which, under the CBP guidelines, can only be imported with a special permit. If you don’t have this permit, your shipment will be held in customs warehouses. You’ll either pay for the daily warehouse dues while you secure the requirements or have your goods confiscated. 

The CBP has compiled a list of commodities subject to import quota for shippers to check. Make sure to keep this in mind before shipping your goods.

4. Undermining the importance of customs brokers

Customs brokers are indeed an additional cost to your shipping, which might lead you to do the dirty work on your own or hire inexperienced personnel. You can indeed cut the cost, but the quality of work and longer processing time will put you in a much more difficult situation. Find a customs broker. Searching for the agency that charges the least could be the key to the cheapest way to ship to the US. 

5. Failure to plan your shipping calendar

Primarily, if you do not plan your shipping calendar, there is a high chance that you will be stuck in the surge of shipments intended for peak seasons. In the aim of still hitting the shipment schedule, you’ll find yourself signing up for express deliveries. Ask yourself, is express international shipping worth it?

On the other hand, if you didn’t plan your shipping calendar and can’t ship using express deliveries, this may lead to late shipments and angry customers. Distrust increases, which could turn into a bad rating and feedback—just because you did not plan. 

6. Incomplete requirements

Not having complete requirements is another blunder. 

Here the requirements you’ll need:

  • Importer ID number
  • Bill of Lading
  • Honest declaration of the commercial invoice
  • Accomplished Electronic Export Information form
  • Certificate of origin - US, Mexico, Canada (USMCA) 
  • Other certificates and requirements from different departments depending on the goods you are shipping 

Incomplete requirements can keep your shipment waiting in CBPs warehouses until you complete all documents needed. Check the classification of your goods whether you need additional requirements from other offices, and make sure to accomplish them through a customs broker’s help. 

7. Not enough research

There are many shipping companies in Canada these days. Not being able to have thorough research on the company that offers the most economical way to ship from Canada to the US or even the cheapest way to ship to Canada from the US can be an oversight. You can save more when partnered with the right shipping company. 

What Stallion Express Offers

Here at Stallion Express, we offer the most affordable shipping rates within Canada and internationally.

Pay as low as CAD10.33 for every 500g shipment sent from Toronto to Vancouver in just three easy steps:

  • Print the details.
  • Pay for the fees.
  • Drop the cargo at any Stallion Express drop-off point.

 We’ll take care of the rest. 

We partner with international shipping companies like UPS and USPS to do the last stretch of delivery in the US. We also make sure that your shipments adhere to CBP guidelines to avoid any mishaps along the way. 

If you want to know more about the services we offer, you may visit our website or call us at 877-863-7477. We’ll gladly discuss the details with you. 

Get started today! Ship faster, smarter, cheaper with Stallion.

Get Started Today.  Sign Up for Free!
Tom Davison
Written by Tom Davison
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