Here’s a little know fact that I bet a lot of you don’t know about and don’t take advantage of. On a recent trip to the U.S. we were away during my daughters Birthday, according to her we usually are – that’s what you get for having a birthday in the winter. So instead of purchasing her a gift before we left we bought something in Phoenix. As it was she wanted a pair of shoes from DSW. She had already calculated that the shoes in the U.S. where less than half the price they were in Canada so, had them shipped “free” to the house in the U.S., put a Happy Birthday Card in the box and filled out the appropriate paperwork at the Post Office – $7.95 to ship and Voila – a $100.00 Canadian pair of shoes for $50.00 completely duty and tax free!
Here’s the “official” wording from http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5056-eng.html#s2x15
While you are outside Canada, you can send gifts free of duty and taxes to friends in Canada under certain conditions. To qualify, each gift must not be worth more than CAN$60 and cannot be a tobacco product, an alcoholic beverage or advertising matter. If the gift is worth more than CAN$60, the recipient will have to pay regular duty and taxes on the excess amount. It is always a good idea to include a gift card to avoid any misunderstanding.
While gifts you send from outside Canada do not count as part of your personal exemption, gifts you bring back in your personal baggage do.