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I work for a non-profit company in the accounts payable department (we don't pay taxes in most states... as long as we are in the state, I think). My boss was gone for the day and I had an urgent check to be mailed out. Last time, I sent it via USPS and it magically made it to Canada after two weeks. This time, we needed it to be overnighted. I started filling out FedEx's International Air Waybill form. Then I saw the bottom and started thinking... is a piece of paper that happens to be a check worth more than an empty piece of paper? To the company listed, surely, but to the government? They can't cash the check, their name isn't listed. So I asked around and nobody had any idea. So I put the value of the check and sent it. Did I do the right thing? And did I scam the government the last time?

TLDR; I recently sent out a check to Canada (at work) and didn't know what to put in the FedEx Intrnational Air Waybill form for the value of a check. What should I have put/ should I put in the future?

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When you fill out an International FexEx waybill, you are doing so for a couple of purposes. One is for shipping charge/insurance purposes, and another is for customs purposes.

For shipping charge/insurance purposes, the relevant question is what it could cost to replace the check if the plane blew up en route (in practice, liability from the carrier is often limited to a refund of your shipping fees, but you could still use the waybill to make a claim against your own personal casualty loss insurer such as a company comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy).

Generally speaking, this would be nominal, but if the check is a cashier's check or certified check payable to a particular person - which can be stopped by the bank in circumstances like that although it is a pain to do and generally only allowed in cases like a probably destruction en route or case of fraud or theft, there is a more than nominal value. The value is arguably the cost you paid to have the check issued or the replacement check fee of the bank, although given the regulations discussed below, at least in the Canadian case, it looks like you wouldn't have to declare it at all because it wouldn't count as a "monetary instrument."

If the check or monetary instrument were in bearer form (e.g. it was endorsed in blank which means with the signature of the payee on the back with no further language, rather than endorsed "pay to . . . "), the value would probably be the face value of the check.

I would think that the same reasoning should apply for customs purposes - since logically, a check is just an instruction to a bank to transfer money, but the money doesn't actually move from one account to the other until the check is presented to the bank of the party issuing the check. But, I am not confident that this is true in general. The last time I went to Mexico, there were detailed instructions on the customers form regarding how to declare currency and financial instruments both on the Mexican form on the trip there, and on the US form on the way back.

There are instructions on the FedEx package or their website as well. But, they aren't very helpful in your case (a similar form is explained here):

  1. WT/VAL (PPD or COLL); Other (PPD or COLL) Indicate whether weight, valuation and all other charges incurred at the origin are wholly prepaid or wholly collect by placing these amounts in the appropriate boxes. Weight and valuation charges must be paid in the same way (one cannot be prepaid and the other collect).

  2. Declared Value for Carriage/Declared Value for Customs You must provide a Declared Value for Carriage on the air waybill. Enter a specific amount or NVD (no value declared). For Declared Value for Customs, enter the selling price or fair market value — even if not sold or for resale — of your shipment contents. If you’re not declaring a customs value, enter NCV (no commercial value). The Declared Value for Carriage cannot exceed the Declared Value for Customs.

The Canadian government also has a website that describes how money should be declared when you cross the border.

Travelling with CAN$10,000 or more

There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can bring into or take out of Canada, nor is it illegal to do so.

However, any time you cross the border, you must declare any currency or monetary instruments you have in your possession that are valued at CAN$10,000 or more. The CAN$10,000 can be any combination of Canadian or foreign currency and monetary instruments, such as stocks, bonds, bank drafts, cheques and traveller's cheques. This requirement applies to you whether you are travelling on business, pleasure or if you are carrying money on behalf of someone else.

When you arrive in Canada with currency or monetary instruments valued at CAN$10,000 or more in your possession, you must report it on Form E311, the CBSA Declaration Card (if one was provided to you), on an Automated Border Clearance or NEXUS kiosk or in the verbal declaration made to a border services officer.

When leaving Canada by air with currency or monetary instruments valued at CAN$10,000 or more in your possession, you must report to the CBSA office within the airport before clearing security. Prior to leaving Canada by land, boat or rail, report to the CBSA office nearest your location.

Consult Travelling with CAN$10,000 or more.

Following the link leads you to the following guidance:

Travelling with CAN$10,000 or more

Anytime you cross the border, you must declare any currency or monetary instruments you have valued at Can$10,000 or more. This amount includes Canadian or foreign currency or a combination of both. Monetary instruments include, but are not limited to, stocks, bonds, bank drafts, cheques and traveller's cheques. There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can bring into or take out of Canada, nor is it illegal to do so.

Does this apply to you?

This applies to all travellers, couriers and if you are carrying money on behalf of someone else.

Entering Canada

When you arrive in Canada with Can$10,000 or more in your possession, you must report it on the CBSA Declaration Card (if one was provided to you), or in the verbal declaration made to a border services officer.

Leaving Canada

When departing Canada by air with Can$10,000 or more in your possession, you must report to the CBSA office within the airport, before clearing security. Prior to departing by land, boat, or rail, report to the CBSA office nearest your location.

Reporting in person

If you are entering or leaving Canada, you have to complete Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report – Individual (Form E677). If the currency or monetary instruments you are reporting are not your own, you will be required to complete Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report – General (Form E667). Hand the form to a border services officer at the nearest CBSA office that is open at the time you are travelling.

Reporting by mail

If you are sending currency or monetary instruments to or from Canada by mail, attach a Canada Post Customs Declaration form (CN23), which is available at your nearest postal office, to the parcel and include a completed Form E667 currency report inside your package. When exporting currency and monetary instruments, you must also submit a copy of the completed Form E667 to the nearest CBSA office. This can be submitted at the same time as or before mailing the package.

Additional postal requirements may exist. Contact Canada Post for more information.

Reporting by courier

If you are sending currency or monetary instruments to or from Canada by courier, the person in charge of the conveyance or the courier must complete Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report made by Person in charge of conveyance (Form E668), and attach it to the Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report – General (Form E667), which you, the importer or exporter, must complete and provide to the courier. Both forms must be submitted to a CBSA office.

Failure to report

The CBSA has the authority to seize all currency and monetary instruments if the entire value is not reported. They may be returned after a penalty is paid. Penalties range from Can$250 to Can$5,000. The CBSA will not return the funds if it is suspected they are the proceeds of crime or funds for financing terrorist activities. You can choose to file a review for items that have been seized.

What happens to the information provided to the CBSA? The completed forms are sent to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) for assessment and analysis. The information provided on the currency reporting forms is subject to the Privacy Act and is collected under the authority of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA).

Contact the CBSA or FINTRAC for more information or contact the Border Information Service by telephone.

Why do I need to report currency when crossing the border? To help fight money laundering and terrorist financing, the Government of Canada introduced the PCMLTFA in 2001.

The CBSA is responsible for administering and enforcing Part 2 of the PCMLTFA to help the Government of Canada to:

  • Detect and deter money laundering and terrorist financing activities;

  • Facilitate the investigation and prosecution of related offences;

  • Respond to the threat posed by organized crime; and

  • Fulfill international commitments to fight transnational crime.

If you click through the links related to couriers (which FedEx would be) you finally get some relevant definitions:

Definitions

"Currency" means current coins and bank notes issued by the Bank of Canada and coins and banks notes in the currency of countries other than Canada.

"Monetary Instruments" means (a) securities, including stocks, bonds, debentures and treasury bills, in bearer form or in such other form as title to them passes upon delivery; and (b) negotiable instruments in bearer form, including banker's drafts, cheques, traveller's cheques and money orders, other than

(i) warehouse receipts or bills of lading, and

(ii) negotiable instruments that bear restrictive endorsements or a stamp for the purposes of clearing or are made payable to a named person and have not been endorsed.

"Courier" means a commercial carrier that is engaged in the scheduled international transportation of shipments of goods other than goods imported as mail.

Thus, as suggested above, a check endorsed in blank counts as a monetary instrument, but a check that has not been endorsed and is payable to a named person, or a check that has a restrictive "pay to . . . " endorsement does not count as a monetary instrument and need not be declared.

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    Monetary instruments must also be declared to the US, if their value is USD 10,000 or greater, on being taken out of the US as well as on being brought in. – phoog Mar 7 at 15:32
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A check is money and is not a commodity that has market value.the correct value is $0.

There are, however, reporting laws that apply to the foreign transfer of large sums of money.

  • Generally true, but if it is in "bearer form" you have to declare it. – ohwilleke Apr 13 '17 at 22:13
  • I like your answer more Dale (mostly because of its simplicity), but without references I didn't feel it was appropriate to mark it as the answer. +1 though! :D – seadoggie01 Apr 14 '17 at 15:15
  • A non-bearer check is not money, and if it were, its value would be its face amount. If one sent currency, its value would be its face amount. – David Siegel Dec 6 '18 at 3:32

protected by phoog Mar 7 at 16:27

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