Ebay, USA, Canada, and taxes...

What is the story with taxes when buying something on eBay?

I live in Quebec and figured it might be easier to buy a camera from an action store located in Canada. But, the (Canada-based) sellers indicate that they will charge the applicable taxes if you live in Canada – but they won’t charge anything to US-based buyers!

If Canadian stores are forced to apply the provinical and federal sales taxes in Canada, are American stores forced to apply applicable state and federal taxes in the US?

And most importantly (for me), is a US store required to charge me provincial and federal sales taxes?

In the US, sales taxes only apply to in-state sales. So, if I live in NJ and I order something by mail from out of state, I pay no taxes. I get a nice loophole effect from that, because I live in NJ and go to college in PA. So if I need to order something from NJ, I have it shipped to my college address, and vice versa. As for Canada, I don’t know what the laws are within the country, but I doubt any US vendor would charge you any taxes.

-Andrew L


An American store will not charge you taxes since the item is leaving the state/country. However, CCRA (Revenu Canada) WILL sting you for the item. They will charge you GST and I believe PST also on the value of the item. You will also be charged a $5 Canada Post handling fee.
The rules are you can have $20 Canadian (about $12 US) from a company and $60 Canadian (less than $40 US) as a gift without having to pay taxes/duty.

For major items, it’s just such a hassle and expense… unless the savings are significant, try to buy it in Canada.