NIAGARA FALLS — Starting in June, Canadians will be able to do more shopping on this side of the border before getting hit with a duty tax.
According to estimates from Visit Buffalo Niagara, 3 million Canadians make shopping trips to Western New York each year. Now that the Canadian government is making a change to the duty-free limits, officials expect even more Canadians to come across the border, helping to boost the economy.
Here are the Canadian duty-free rules as of June 1:
• For trips more than 24 hours and less than 48 hours, the duty-free allowance will increase from the current limit of $50 to $200.
• For trips longer than 48 hours, the duty-free allowance will double from the current limit of $400 to $800.
• And for weeklong trips or longer, the duty-free limit will increase from $750 to $800.
When Canada’s duty-free allowance levels change, they’ll match those in the United States.
Duty-free limits for alcohol and tobacco will remain unchanged.
Canadian shoppers still will not be allowed to bring anything back to Canada duty-free for trips less than 24 hours. Americans, currently do have a same-day duty free allowance in Canada • it is $200.
Because of the exchange rate, less expensive gas and greater product diversity, Canadian shoppers have been flocking to day and weekend “shopping holidays” in Western New York. Ed Healy, vice president of marketing for Visit Buffalo Niagara, said the new legislation would make cross-border shopping even more attractive.
“Our goal is to get people to come here more often, stay longer and leave more money behind, and I think this legislation will help us do just that,” he said.
Shoppers agreed.. “We try to come over every month or two months, but this might bring us over just a little bit more,” said Vanessa Cheropita of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said the change would be tremendously helpful for his city. He credited cross-border shopping for higher-than-expected sales tax revenue for the city and county.
Source: Democrat & Chronicle