A Manitoba business owner had to pay a penalty of $5,200 on April 11 at the Boissevain border crossing when, if he had only been honest about what he was bringing into Canada from the USA, he could have paid just $1,025 in GST.
This is just one of numerous tales of treachery at Manitoba’s ports of entry from the USA into Canada shared for the month of April by the Canada Border Services Agency.
The stories have a running theme - lying will make your wallet lighter. Paying the GST on your purchases is a lot cheaper than paying the penalties after being caught making a false declaration.
In this case, the business owner had declared a shipment of farm equipment at $400 U.S. that he was having transported by a hired driver into Canada from the U.S. but when customs officers searched the trailer hauling the equipment, they found $19,025 U.S. worth.
The owner was contacted and had to admit that he’d undervalued the shipment and the hefty fine was levied.
At the Emerson port on April 12, a Manitoba couple declared their purchase of a motorcycle at $3,000 U.S. and had a receipt but were questioned further and officers searched their vehicle. The woman admitted they had actually paid $5,800 for the motorcycle and officers found price tages for undeclared clothing worth about $500. The couple had to pay a $1,700 penalty. If they had declared everything truthfully, they would have paid about $350 in GST.
The CBSA stated in a press release that officers processed 170,522 travellers in 62,704 cars and 27,683 trucks in the month of April. There were 90 work permits and three study permits issued and 241 new immigrants were processed.
Officers also made 29 seizures and issued total penalties of $15,815 for failing to declare goods and smuggling contraband.
At Emerson, the busiest port in southern Manitoba, officers denied entry to 61 people, including some with serious criminal issues.
Here are some other highlights from Manitoba ports of entry provided by CBSA for the month of April.
On April 15, a Manitoba man driving a motorhome declared $6,500 (U.S.) in purchases and multiple bottles of liquor. CBSA officers conducted a secondary examination, and the man admitted he had actually purchased the tires on the SUV he was towing in the United States. Officers also uncovered camera equipment in his motorhome, bringing the total value of undeclared purchases to more than $1,700. They issued him a penalty of $700. If the man had been truthful, he would have paid $75 in GST.
On April 6, a Manitoba man declared a horse at $1,650. However, officers determined the actual price was $2,200. They issued him a penalty of $300. If the traveller had been truthful, he would have paid approximately $110 in GST.
Emerson West Lynne
On April 2, a Minnesota man told officers he was travelling to visit a relative in Winnipeg. CBSA officers conducted a secondary examination of his vehicle and seized six grams of suspected hashish from a duffel bag in the back seat. They also determined the man was inadmissible to Canada due to a criminal record, and returned him to the United States.
On April 2, officers were processing a courier shipment declared as lava lamp parts. They opened the package and found it actually contained almost five litres of beer. Officers seized the alcohol with no terms of release.
On April 5, a Manitoba man was importing an ATV he purchased in Minnesota. He declared it at $3,000 (U.S.) and presented a bill of sale. Officers determined the price was more, and the man admitted he had actually paid $4,600. He paid a penalty of $975 before continuing into Canada. If the man had made a truthful declaration, he would have paid $250 in GST.
On April 7, a Manitoba man declared a trailer at $10,000 (U.S.) and presented a bill of sale. During further questioning, though, the man admitted he had actually paid $13,000. Officers issued him a penalty of more than $1,800. If the man had made a truthful declaration, he would have paid $725 in GST.
On April 7, a United States resident was seeking entry for a week-long snowmobiling trip in Canada. He told officers he had two drunk-driving convictions in Illinois and two assault convictions. Officers directed him back to the United States because he was inadmissible.
On April 7, a 23-year-old United States woman was seeking entry into Canada. Officers determined she had been convicted of shoplifting in North Dakota in October 2013. Since she had not yet completed her one-year probation sentence, she was inadmissible. Officers returned her to the United States.
On April 8, officers refused a 29-year-old Minnesota man entry for a previous drunk-driving conviction. They provided instructions to apply for a temporary resident permit. The man returned to the port on April 23 with the required documents and was granted entry into Canada.
On April 8, a commercial driver from Wyoming admitted to misdemeanor convictions, and officers determined he was also convicted of battery and therefore not allowed into Canada. They refused him entry and returned him to the United States.
On April 8, officers refused entry to a 36-year-old commercial driver for a conviction in Minnesota of theft by swindle for writing bad cheques. Officers returned him to the United States.
On April 11, officers seized nine prohibited switchblade knives inside a ground shipment parcel. They determined the exporter had previously tried to ship the same package to Canada and had been warned before. Officers seized all of the weapons with no terms of release.
On April 17, two Canadian residents said they mistakenly arrived at the border while travelling to Nova Scotia. Officers conducted a secondary examination with a detector dog, and the travellers admitted they had five grams of marijuana tucked between the vehicle seats. However, officers located more suspected marijuana (for a total of 25 grams), a loaded .22-calibre round, .1 gram of suspected cocaine, and weapons – including a double-blade knife and a collapsible baton. The driver also produced .4 gram of suspected crystal meth from his pocket. The men were arrested and turned over to RCMP where they were subsequently charged.
On April 17, two Manitoba travellers were returning from Grand Forks and declared $20 (U.S.) in purchases. After a search of the vehicle and further questioning from officers, the driver admitted he had also purchased a platinum ring for US$735. Officers issued him a penalty of more than $600 for failing to make an accurate declaration. If he had been truthful, he would have paid about $40 in GST.
On April 17, CBSA officers intercepted a ground shipment being imported by an Alberta man. He had declared it as artwork at $500 (U.S.). However, a receipt inside listed the sale price as $2,000. The man paid a penalty of more than $925 before officers released the shipment. If he had made an accurate declaration, he would have paid about $100 in GST.
On April 18, four Canadian residents said their GPS misdirected them to the port during a trip to Montreal. Officers conducted a secondary examination of their vehicle and uncovered a prohibited, loaded .32-calibre revolver concealed in the glove compartment. Officers also uncovered 8.5 grams of suspected marijuana in the driver’s jacket. They arrested all of the travellers and transferred them to RCMP custody where they were subsequently charged.
On April 21, a 42-year-old North Dakota man arrived at the port to inquire about possible entry into Canada. Officers determined he was criminally inadmissible because of convictions for using bad cheques and for failing to pay child support. They provided the man with information required to apply for entry and returned him to the United States.
On April 27, a Manitoba man declared a boat and trailer at $6,500 (U.S.) and presented a bill of sale. After further questioning, the man eventually admitted he had paid US$7,500. Officers issued him a penalty of approximately $700. If he had been truthful, he would have paid about $350 in GST.
On April 4, three men and a woman from Manitoba declared they were bringing back no goods. During a secondary examination, officers uncovered new jackets in their vehicle that were concealed in a bag of used clothing. The officers also seized 3.5 litres of undeclared alcohol, four cartons of cigarettes, and almost one kilogram of tobacco. Officers issued the driver a penalty of about $38 for the clothing. If the travellers had declared the jackets, they would have paid $4 in GST. They were also issued a $290 conveyance penalty for the alcohol and tobacco – which were seized outright with no terms of release. However, if declared, the duties and taxes owed for the alcohol and tobacco would have been significant, as they were not entitled to a personal exemption. A traveller absent from Canada less than 48 hours can expect to pay about $90 in duties and taxes for a carton of cigarettes and about $20 per litre of alcohol.
On April 27, a Saskatchewan couple declared 4.5 litres of liquor, 36 cans of beer, and two cartons of cigarettes. However, officers conducted a secondary examination and uncovered another seven litres of liquor and two more cartons of cigarettes that were not declared. They seized them with no terms of release.
On April 5, a Manitoba man declared a race car he was towing at $2,000 (U.S.), along with two bottles of alcohol and about $150 (U.S.) in other purchases. Officers uncovered a duplicate invoice in his truck for $3,300. The man admitted he had not been truthful, and officers issued him a penalty of about $775. If he had made an accurate declaration, he would have paid $175 in GST.
On April 7, a Minnesota man was travelling to Manitoba and told officers he was bringing some of his own auto parts into the country. Officers determined he was actually importing these parts, worth $1,975 (U.S.), for his friend. They issued the man a penalty of about $550 before he continued into Canada. If he had made a truthful declaration, he would have paid approximately $100 in GST.