Non-Resident Importer (NRI) Information
A non-resident importer (NRI) is a company or individual who does not reside in Canada, but elects to act as the Importer of Record (IOR) for a shipment, or shipments, imported into Canada. The IOR is responsible for all accounting related to the importation including, but not limited to, any duties and/or taxes payable to the Government of Canada as well as the maintenance of all records pertaining to each importation.
An IOR may appoint a customs broker to act as their agent and transact business with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on their behalf. The CBSA requires agents to have written authority from the IOR such as an Agency Agreement or Power of Attorney. Note: The IOR is ultimately responsible for all matters regardless if an agent was appointed
The benefits of being a non-resident importer include consistent clearance processing and potentially faster delivery times, pre-determination of landed costs and enhanced e-commerce sales.
Proper valuation of all items in a shipment will help prevent clearance delays, rejections or seizure by customs, or monetary penalties under the CBSA’s Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) program.
The most common valuation method is the ‘transaction value method’. This basically means that the value of the goods on the Commercial Invoice must equal the value that the purchaser has paid for the goods. For example, if a Canadian purchaser bought a computer from a U.S. vendor for USD$2000 then the vendor must indicate that value on the Commercial Invoice, even if the vendor’s cost to purchase was only USD$1000.
For the methods of valuation, please refer to the Customs D13 Series Memoranda. D13-3-1 provides an overview of the various valuation methods.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)
A non-resident importer can register with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for a Canadian GST number which provides certain benefits and, in some cases, is mandatory depending on the type of business being conducted in Canada.
For detailed information, please refer to the CRA’s guide.