SoftSnowGuy is right, and I stand corrected. If I had opened the rebate form I posted the link to, I would have seen that the rebate program has been discontinued, with the exception of GST refunds on certain types of tour lodging. Bummer... but if you mail order, you won't pay the sales tax.
Originally Posted by garylk
Yes - the duty is probably lumped in with the shipping cost.
Wrong. The import duty is always the responsibility of the receiver (importer), not the shipper.
If somebody gets a shipment without paying duty it means one of three things. 1) the item was a duty free item to begin with due to NAFTA. 2) The price of the item was below a threshold the U.S. Customs service wants to be bother with. 3) Somebody in the system made a judgement that they couldn't be bothered with the paperwork because it wasn't big enough to worry about (this happens to me all the time).
It will also depend on what shipping company is used. If it comes via postal service, it is much more likely to fall through the cracks in terms of having duty charged, as long as it isn't a significantly expensive purchase. If it comes via UPS, however, those guys are criminals who use cross boarder shipments as an excuse to gouge customers. They use the excuse of having to 'broker' the shipment as a way to charge the receiver additional fees above the government duties and taxes, and therefore generate huge additional profit for themselves. Not only will they always collect the amount required by the government for the duty (and tax, if applicable), but they will also charge the receiver an exhorbitant 'brokerage fee' that is completely unwarranted. Shipments by mail usually arive at little or no additional cost above the duty (if they decide to even charge it).
Case in point, I mail ordered some refills for my personal organizer last year (about $20) from outside the country. The shipper sent them UPS (I thought they were coming by mail), and UPS dinged me for import duty, sales tax, and then added a $16 brokerage fee. I turned the package down, because if it had been shipped by mail it would have arrived with no charges at all and simply dropped in my mailbox (it was below the value threshold where the post office would have processed it for duties and taxes). Don't EVER use UPS to ship anything across the border. Even skis are able to be shipped via the postal system.