Canadian flag

To our friends to the north: a quick word, since I seem to be getting e-mails about this recently.

If you win a contest on Needcoffee, we send you things via the post. When we send them, apparently you guys have taxes that you pay on stuff you receive from across the border because your government hasn’t taken enough of your money yet. (Our government likes our money way too much, too, BTW.) People have been telling me that if we were to just mark these things down as “gifts” you could circumvent the taxes and get them for less.

Ah, but there’s a snag you see. It’s this.

At that link you’ll see that, true enough, “If you receive an imported gift by mail that is worth CAN$60 or less, you will not have to pay duty or tax on it.” Ah, but if you read further you also see: “Items that do not qualify for the CAN$60 gift exemption include the following:” and in that list, “items sent by a business.”

Needcoffee.com is run by One Tusk Industries LLC, which is a business. Therefore, that page says to me, in pretty plain English, Needcoffee.com cannot send you a gift.

There is a reason that the rules for our contest state: “Winners shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize.”

Now, let me make two things absolutely clear.

One: this is not our idea. If it were up to me, I would send you stuff and you would get it with no taxes whatsoever. In fact, your government would monogram it for you free of charge and deliver it whilst riding a unicorn. (My dream.) In this case, though, it’s your government that wants more of your money. If you’ve been at this site for long enough, you know that I’m the last person who wants you to give more money to your government. Or any government. Not that anyone’s been really bitchy and accusatory about this–and seriously, thank you guys for that–but it’s really not our fault. And we don’t want to break the law. So we’re kinda stuck.

Two: if somebody can show me something that convinces me there’s a perfectly legal way to send you prizes which won’t cost you tax money, I am willing to entertain that notion. But it has to be 100% bulletproof legal. I’m not going to get fined or have the Royal Mounted Ninjas (or whatever) descend upon me because your government wants to take your money from you and wants me dead because I’m helping you get around that.

As a side note, somebody was already kind enough to send me this about revenue and taxation and prizes and such, but it doesn’t appear to negate the postal code link above.

So I just wanted to be completely up-front and honest about this. If you can help me figure out a way to make this work for everybody, then I’m game. Otherwise, we’re stuck the way we are. Unless you can get your government to let you keep some more of your money just in general. And good luck with that.