Non-Resident Importer Program: Your Gateway to Canadian Markets 

  • By Mohammed Layeequddin
    • Nov 16, 2023
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Did you know that Canada’s Non-Resident Importer program (NRI) is your ticket to hassle-free expansion? If you’re a business located outside of Canada, and you’ve got eager Canadian customers craving your products, Canada’s Non-Resident Importer program is your secret weapon. Let’s take a look at this program and discover how it can supercharge your business in the Great White North. 

What’s a Non-Resident Importer (NRI)? 

As an NRI, you step up to the plate and take responsibility for customs clearance and other import-related tasks. No need to set up costly shop in Canada with manufacturing plants and fancy offices.

Your main expenses? Shipping costs from your international base to your Canadian customers, Canadian import duties/taxes, and fees from customs and logistics. 

Canadian import duties/taxes

Now, let’s dig into a Canadian peculiarity: the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on imported goods. 

What’s the GST/HST? 

GST is a federal tax. It applies to most goods and services in Canada, at 5% tax. When your goods cross the border into Canadian territory, GST is added. It’s calculated based on your goods’ value, including any customs duties. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) does the collecting on behalf of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). So unless your goods are classified with “zero-rated” status, expect those GST invoices. 

Do I Need to Get on the GST/HST Train? 

Well, that depends. If your global revenue hits the CAD$30,000 mark and you’re actively doing business in Canada, it’s time to hop aboard the GST/HST train. Keeping things above board here is essential to avoid any surprise penalties. 

Non-Resident Importer Program

Now, Let’s Talk Trade Compliance – It’s not as boring as it sounds!

Trade Compliance is the rulebook for importing and exporting in Canada. You’ve got to follow the rules, like declaring your goods’ tariff classification, origin, and value correctly. And, you also must pay the right duties and taxes. Plus, get any necessary permits or licenses.

What Happens if I Don’t Comply?

Well, that could get costly. The Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) is lurking, ready to hand out fines based on your rule-breaking habits. The more you break, the more it costs. 

Why Should I Care About Trade Compliance? 

Simple, Accurate information makes governments happy, and they like to support businesses that play by the rules. Plus, it keeps your accounting documents cleaner, which means fewer headaches and lower costs. Additionally, good compliance means fewer border inspections and fewer penalties. Smooth sailing all around. 

In a nutshell, Canada’s Non-Resident Importer program and trade compliance are your keys to Canadian business success. So, embrace the opportunity, dive into the Canadian market, and enjoy the sweet taste of success!  

If you are a US-based business looking to conquer the Canadian market look no further than Leyton! We specialize in helping businesses navigate the Non-Resident Importer (NRI) requirements in Canada, making your expansion a breeze. Plus, we’re experts at recovering hard-earned tax dollars for you. Let’s partner up and unlock the full potential of your Canadian ventures. 


Regional Sales Manager Tax Credit Specialist
Mohammed Layeequddin

Regional Sales Manager

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