A Canadian friend of mine discovered his “free” health care isn’t free after all.
David purchased a few pairs of designer jeans that normally retail in the US for more than $700. He ordered them from an online company in Reno and thought he was getting a great deal – until Customs held his jeans for ransom.
In their infinite wisdom, the Canadian customs officials (aka government goons) decided to charge David import taxes on the jeans’ retail value, not the price he actually paid. They refused to release the jeans until he forked over an additional $40, which amounted to 24 percent tax.
Canada charges a VAT (Value Added Tax) on most items shipped into Canada. Gifts are excluded, but Customs has the right to open any package they wish, and if they think an item is a purchase, not a gift, they will charge the receiver a VAT, currently 5 percent of the item’s price.
Even if your item is correctly marked as a purchase, with a $170 invoice as David’s was, the government can (and did) charge a higher tax, if they feel so inclined.
David’s jeans still had the retail price tags attached, because he bought them “NWT” (new with tags). Had David asked to have the tags removed before shipment, he would have paid roughly $8 in taxes. Instead, David was forced to pay five times that amount to rescue his purchase from the grips of the greedy Customs officials.
Needless to say, David was not a happy camper at Customs and relayed the story to me later. I reminded him that Canada’s VAT is just another way his government makes the little people pay for services the Feds claim are “free,” like health care.
I encouraged him to move to the U.S., where we have no VAT (so far), and no “free” health care (not yet).
Or so we can hope. A decidedly liberal and out-of-control Congress has already passed the latter, and is talking about passing the former as well.