I enjoyed reading your article “Are farm machinery parts essential business?” in last week’s Co-operator however, I feel I could add valuable information for farmers.
I work as a consultant in agriculture and also run a small manufacturing business out of my home shop. Many of the materials needed for my small business come from the U.S. Instead of claiming all those materials as “personal items” and paying enormous duty fees when I bring them into Canada, I registered for an import/export account with the CRA so that I could import commercially and only pay the tax.
Turns out that the recent border restrictions are for personal, not-essential travel and do not restrict commercial business. In fact, just this week I crossed the border without incident to make a commercial pickup of supplies for my business. I declared that I was making a commercial pickup to the U.S. border guard, paid my commercial fee (approximately US$13) and carried on my way.
If you already have a business number with the CRA, it’s easy to add on an import/export account. (Call the CRA’s Business Window at 1-800-959-5525.) The tricky thing is figuring out how to fill in the required B3-3 form for crossing back into Canada. CBSA employees were very helpful when I was learning how. All the info is on the CBSA’s website.