Death and Taxes - Trophy Fees & Canada Customs

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by BRICKBURN, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I was obviously in a fit of excitement and delusion that I appeared at the Customs office to try and clear my trophies and pay my value added tax.

    Being the fair minded tax payer I am, I wanted to pay my fair share and head out with my goods and see what actually showed up in the crate.

    I walk in pleasant and excited.
    While smiling and joking, I present the paperwork that was provided to me by the Airlines Agent and after sorting through the papers it appears there is something missing.
    This conclusion is not due to an informative conversation taking place. This is merely through my keen observation of the officers searching behaviours and look of consternation.

    I Query; "Is there a problem?"
    Reply; "There is no invoice for the trophy fees?"
    Query; "Why do you need that?"
    Reply; "That is what we base the value on!"

    I stop myself from saying WTF.
    But, my face must have relayed something along those lines.

    I am disturbed, back to the earlier referenced frame of mind "delusional fit of excitement", as I have not been subject to this tax determination before. Ok, obviously I have, but the last officers we haggled it out and came to an understanding.
    [Note, I did not bring the letters about the pick ups and gifts that were in with the trophies I did actually hunt. DUMB]
    I am not paying imputed trophy fees for some damn pick up Warthog tusks, etc., etc.
    I am also not paying imputed trophy fees that they decided were acceptable to them without, my factual input.

    I share my frustrated impressions with the officer about charging tax on a trophy fee:
    Do you remove the value for the animals meat, hide, etc?
    I am of the understanding that I am actually paying for a service in another country and not purchasing a commodity.
    Otherwise I would attend an game auction.
    I am required to pay for the success of hunting. [It is not the actual Fair market value of the animal]


    I explain I am not arguing and I am merely trying to understand this determination, as it does not seem reasonable to me.
    The officer suggests they could provide "the memo". I did not accept a copy at this point. I will though.

    It is also suggested that the resident "trophy fee" expert could be made available, one of the authors of "the memo".
    I say sure I'd love to chat with them.
    Not available at the moment today.


    They are about to impute a value for the trophy fees from a ready made list on the computer for Namibia, while I am in the midst of searching my computer for the required documents.
    I suggest I will find the proper paperwork and make myself busy in the process.
    [This is also where I get the urge to kick a couple of outfitters squarely between the legs. You know the ones who post $6500.00 trophy fees for Kudu]


    I'll prove my FMV point right now.
    Which one of you would like to buy a set of Rowland Ward Eland horns and its skull from me for $3500.00 USD?

    Going, going, gone. Didn't think so.

    The future discussion will go along these lines.
    Trophy Fees are not the FMV based on the auction prices for trophy mounts, euro or otherwise in the US.
    Trophy Fees are certainly not Biltong prices or game auction prices for entire carcasses, skins, and horns.
    Those auction prices are closer to FMV of the animal.
    We international hunters pay more for the privilege to HUNT. It is a service provided to us.
    Taxing me on my experience and a service provided in another country!???

    If this is how I am going to be taxed for trophies in the future I will be creating a new invoicing system with the outfitters.
    The proper break down of those trophy fees:
    "success service fee", "animal cost", "actual value of animal parts sent to taxidermist and exported".
    Maybe I can pay the tax on the proper amount.



    The officer pushes the papers back under the glass. I agree with the suggestion and will address this later, now that I am no longer being euphoric and delusional. [Slow learner]

    My bad for showing up to the proverbial gun fight with a knife.
    Not the next time.


    Tax Payer Bill of Rights
    You have the right to have the law applied consistently
    It is your right to have us apply the law consistently so everyone gets their entitlements
    and pays the right amount. We will take your particular circumstances into account as
    allowed by law.
    Accuracy and consistency are essential in the administration of tax legislation. We take
    a number of measures to make sure that we administer legislation in a consistent manner
    across the country.

    These measures include:
    ■ systematically analyzing the most common errors made by taxpayers and taking steps to prevent them;
    ■ training our employees;
    ■ issuing technical directives; and
    ■ reviewing our technical publications for accuracy.

    We count on you to let us know if you believe the law has not been applied consistently or
    correctly in your situation. If you believe this is the case, you should talk to us. If you still
    disagree with our decision after talking to us, you have the right to ask for a formal review of
    your file and to then have our decision reviewed by a court.
    For more information on how to ask for a formal review under the legislation and you have the right to a formal review and a subsequent appeal?

    Complaints and disputes or call us.
     
  2. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Sorry to hear, it angers me too. And it's unjustified.
     
  3. garyleach

    garyleach AH Veteran

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    Holy crap....................................
     
  4. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I wonder how long it will be before the Bamster hears about this and decides we should be doing the same thing in the US?

    Brick, that would just about send me into orbit!
     
  5. toxic111

    toxic111 AH Veteran

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    Something whack there for sure... I just pulled my import fees out & I paid a total of $3.26 for GST on trophies... I got nailed to the wall on storage, not on taxes...
     
  6. Biggdawg

    Biggdawg BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    you got that right, heck i am in orbit now just reading it and it isn't me, total BS in my opinion what governments won't do to get more money out of us so they can give it to someone else, dang don't get me started :hmmmer:

    I feel for ya and hope you get it worked out.
     
  7. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    My daily rates just jumped to $1900 per day and I'm charging $100 per trophy!! Min 6 days...
    :)

    Ps daily rates to be negotiated, depending on wish list...:)
     
  8. Biggdawg

    Biggdawg BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    lol that is good :cool:
     
  9. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    hey Jaco your still cheaper than tanzania you need to up those rates to at least $2,500.00 a day......:biggrin2:
     
  10. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Who ever said a South African was a slow learner!
     
  11. adgunner

    adgunner SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Brick,sorry to hear of your troubles, i for one would love to see the "memo" as it seems there is no ryhme nor reason to application of policy by Customs, it comes down to individual agents! With a shipment awaiting just RSA Nature Conservation permits ... i can hardly wait for my turn at bat :mad:
     
  12. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    damn... that would be mildly frustrating!!!
    quickly see who can send you a new invoice... with an agreeable trophy fee value! :biggrin2:
     
  13. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    During my original discussion with the officer I had shared that I had processed several shipments without incurring this particular interpretation. At this point the officer shared that I could be "audited". I laughed and suggested that they were welcome to audit me and that I had fully disclosed the details and done my duty. I was not concerned.

    After the original post it finally hit me, this is where most people would have just shut up and take what was being dished out. Who wants to go through an audit or be subjected to some other administrative nightmare.
    I was so dense that I did not even realize that I was being bullied.

    It is simple to hide behind the factual presentation of information about the possibility that you could be audited. Of course you can be audited, anyone can.
    The reality is the timing of the presentation of this information had more to do with creating compliance with their perspective than sharing information. High end bullying and intimidation.

    Up until this realization I thought I was being dealt with in a professional manner.

    I HATE BULLIES. I HATE BULLIES WITH AGENDAS MORE.

    With Toxic111's reply I can only conclude that this little fiefdom gets away with murder because they can.


    Between work meetings I spent a significant amount of my time in preparation for the potential battle. I had done this homework with previous shipments and had simply forgotten who I was dealing with before I showed up this time.

    For most folks the battle is just not worth it and that is how these guys win. They make a determination and you are stuck with it. Besides going through the headache and hassle of the review process.

    I collected invoices, letters and FMV research on the net. Auction houses, curio sellers in RSA, etc, etc.
    Copies of all web pages printed for reference.

    Excel Spreadsheet with conversion of USD to CAD, etc.
    Each price for each item from 5 different sources. You would not want to be biased in your valuation for tax purposes and have your information dismissed by an unbiased officer.


    By the time I am done all of this the office is closed.

    The fight will have to happen another day.



    It got me thinking about some of the permutations and possible implications:

    As an example:
    A Leopard hunt where an Outfitter reduces the day rate and increases the trophy fee. On the face it appears that the Outfitter is pricing for the Hunter. You know, more skin in the game to get a Leopard in the salt. vs High day rates and a low trophy fee where the PH might not be so motivated. (No slight intended, just a pricing model with implications)


    Another Concern:
    Packages. The price is all in. Are you going to be taxed on this entire price? or will they just decide to impute a trophy fee value on what you bring home?

    Another Concern:
    For those of you who manage to wound a trophy. You pay a trophy fee for any lost or wounded animal.
    You technically acquire that animal. With this fiefdom you are going to be taxed on that trophy fee even though you are not importing anything but the bill!
     
  14. Jfet

    Jfet AH Veteran

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    "Between work meetings I spent a significant amount of my time in preparation for the potential battle. I had done this homework with previous shipments and had simply forgotten who I was dealing with before I showed up this time."

    Brick, this is a key point. Dealing with our governments and the people that run the bureaucracy of our governments (Canada, US, or where ever you are) is very much like hunting leopards or other dangerous game. You take them for granted and you can get in trouble quickly. Sorry, to hear about your troubles but I believe from what i have read on AH that you will probably do the following :beatingdeadhorse: to the tax collector but in a nice way. Go Get'em!!! This could be a fun hunting report. ;)
     
  15. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I hope you get a good one when you enter the Customs Officer Lottery.
     
  16. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I wish they were that slow.

    Problem is these guys have internet access and if they think you are evading taxes, they can be really interesting. Then they just impute the damn values anyway.
     
  17. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I may just have you email me your Customs Receipt along with port or entry and it may just help in a complaint to the higher ups.

    Since the CRA invited us to address our concerns.

    "We count on you to let us know if you believe the law has not been applied consistently or
    correctly in your situation. If you believe this is the case, you should talk to us."


    Tax fairness is Tax fairness. This is not a fair and equitable application of the law.

    Charter of Rights and Freedom comes to mind.
    15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination ...

    Even hunters!
     
  18. lcq

    lcq AH Veteran

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    Canada Customs don't employ the best and brightest. Compare a trip across the border both ways. Us where are you going, any commercial activity, how much will you spend, have a nice day. Canada, third degree, bad and aggressive attitude and we are going to tax the crap out of you.
     
  19. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    lcq, in my experience it's no better going south than it is coming north.

    Brickburn, I think we've discussed this before on another thread. I've been charged GST (value added tax) on the trophy fees in the past. Once when there was a fictitious invoice for an elephant hunt in the crate, the officer refused to accept it. I had the real one, and gave it to her, and she said "that's more like it". She had a binder with trophy fees from all over in it. No point arguing. Pay the tax and get out. Count yourself lucky.

    Clearing my last shipment - two months ago from Cameroon - where daily rates are very high but trophy fees are very reasonable - I was told - for the first time - that I had to provide an invoice for the entire hunt, and that the GST would be based on that amount. I, too, naively suggested that that was a service I had consumed in Cameroon, and was bringing nothing of it back to Canada. Discussion ensues, and eventually we go with the trophy fees, but I was told that where Customs considers trophy fees to be "unreasonably low" - whatever that means - they could and would charge the fees on the value of the hunt. I can only assume most hunters won't have a problem - in SA - largest single hunting country for hunters from NA - trophy fees are high and day rates are low (i'd say too low, but then I'd only be hurting myself). Shoot a sable and Customs will be thrilled to charge you GST on $9,000 or more. Shoot the same sable in Zim and you might pay $4,000 (but the hunt cost you $1,000/day, rather than the $450 or $550 you paid in SA).

    Problem is twofold. First, they have your stuff, and it costs money to have it sit at the brokers. Secondly, fighting this would cost more money than just paying the tax. I assume they count on that.

    One solution I've found is to have the taxidermy done in Africa. They've always charges the GST on the cost of the taxidermy rather than the trophy fee. Never had a discussion.

    Not right, but I'm saving myself for fights where I have at least an even chance.
     
  20. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    A lot wisdom there in dealing with the government Hank. You have to plan and plot against them. Very smart!
     

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