RFI: laws, permits, and museums

John Bruner jbruner at GPU.SRV.UALBERTA.CA
Mon Jan 25 15:40:16 CST 1999

Sally Shelton
Collections Officer
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC   20560-0107
phone (202) 786-2601, FAX (202) 786-2328
email <Shelton.Sally at nmnh.si.edu>

Dear Ms. Sally Shelton:

        I have been having a great deal of difficulty with Revenue Canada
charging G.S.T. (General Sales Tax) on shark jaws sent to me for scientific
study.  The Customs officials will charge GST based on the insured value of
the package.  So when a museum worker sends me a great white shark jaw
insured for $2000, the GST charged is $140 (the rate is 7%).  Apparently it
makes no difference that scientific specimens have "no commercial value" and
that they will be returned to their respective museums after being studied.
Also, Revenue Canada does not consider catalogued scientific specimens
to be "educational materials".  In spite of the fact that I gave a seminar
at the American Elasmobranch Society's annual meeting in Guelph, Ontario on
these very jaws.

        Also, I have had to pay USA Customs Brokers' entry fees on
specimens sent back to USA museums based on the insured value of the
specimens.  The Customs Brokers ignore  the "no commercial value" labels on
the packages and base their entry fees on the insured values.

*   Mr. John Clay Bruner                                     *
*   Department of Biological Sciences                        *
*   University of Alberta                                    *
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*   EMAIL: jbruner at gpu.srv.UAlberta.CA                       *
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* (Telephone area code changes to 780 effective 25 Jan 1999) *

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