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April 2015


The Tax Man Cometh

Box of Red Wine

Despite our best attempts to drink the entire contents of our cellar before leaving France, we still found ourselves with 200-odd bottles that we didn’t quite get to. This was my fault…letting the team down with my dull sniff-and-spit pregnancy regime. So what to do? No problem we thought, in our sweet, naïve way. We will just ship our wines in the container with our furniture. We will save ourselves scads of money not having to pay the high liquor board prices! We will bring rare, interesting offerings to our friends and family craving diversity. It will be like a public service; an act of charity. Cue applause now.

Until the large bucket of ice cold water landed on our proverbial heads. All personal effects for a returning ex-resident are tax-free…hurray! Except for alcohol. Of course! What was I thinking? Why on earth should the provincial government let me bring in wine bought long ago, in another country, for my personal consumption, without taking a hefty cut? This makes perfect sense. So we gritted our teeth and paid the almost 4$/ bottle, rationalizing it to ourselves in that it is still cheaper than buying the same wines and vintages here. The bitter memory was just starting to fade slightly when we had another wonderful surprise! After a lovely morning spent making our customs clearance declaration, our friendly customs officer presented us with the federal tax bill! Because it is clearly not enough to pay provincial taxes to bring sinful, wicked alcohol into Canada; the federal government also needs to make a couple of bucks. Our new friend explained to us that there is a solution to bring in wines tax-free. Excellent! Are you ready? Wines are tax exempt under the legal limit of 1.5 litres per person (aka 2 bottles)! 100 trips back and forth across the Atlantic to beat the tax man… Genius!

So 6$/ bottle later, we have wine…much wine. And it all looks pretty and pristine so far. No pushed up corks, no drips, no perceivable quality alteration. Totally worthwhile!