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Jan 282011
 

A Canadian resident had their car seized when Canadian Customs determined that it had been repaired while it was in the U.S.  The owner did not report the $1,072 in repairs and the vehicle was returned after the owner paid the Canadian sales tax on the repairs and also a $268 penalty.  It is likely that many travellers do not realize that Canada taxes automotive repairs made in the United States.

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Jan 192011
 

The Court of Federal Claims has once again upheld the right of U.S. Customs officials to seize and examine laptop computers without a warrant or even reasonable suspicion.  (Kam-Almaz v. United States on January 7, 2011).  To date, there have been no successful Fourth Amendment claims against this activity. U.S. Customs agents may also freely share the data from those computers — personal and business records, web-site visits, email – with other governmental entities.  No compensation is provided for any losses suffered by the owner of the laptop as a result of the seizure even if the contents are destroyed by government.  The laptop can be held for over 30 days and the owner may not be allowed to get a copy of the contents of their hard drive.

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Jan 192011
 

A Canadian judge levied a heavy fine on an individual who misrepresented the purchase price of a car that was bought in the United States and brought through the St. Stephen border crossing. The judge levied a $1,000 fine on top of the $14,067.63 civil penalty imposed by the Canadian Border Services Agency.  The offender initially stated he had purchased the car for $10,000 but admitted during secondary inspection that he had really paid $35,000 for the 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark V.  He has until April 12th 2011 to pay the fine or he will face 14 days in jail.  The purchaser was attempting to avoid $3,250 in taxes by understating the price of the car.

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