how much booze can i bring with me through LAX?
October 16, 2009 7:34 AM   Subscribe

How much alcohol can I have in my checked in bags if I am connecting through LAX?

I am currently in Peru, and will be flying from Lima to LAX. Then from LAX to Vancouver, Canada. How much alcohol can I put in my checked in bags?
Don´t know why I can´t seem to find this info from google...
posted by cheemee to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This PDF has information relating to US Customs. According to page 14, you "may include two liters of alcoholic beverages with this $800 exemption, as long as one of the liters was produced in [Peru]."

Not sure about bringing stuff into Canada.
posted by exogenous at 7:46 AM on October 16, 2009

Reading further in the same PDF (page 20), it says "Federal regulations allow you to bring back more than one liter of alcoholic beverage for personal use, but, as with extra tobacco, you will have to pay duty and Internal Revenue Service tax. While federal regulations do not specify a limit on the amount of alcohol you may bring back for personal use, unusual quantities are liable to raise suspicions..."
posted by exogenous at 7:52 AM on October 16, 2009

Are you asking how much booze you can bring in duty- and tax-free?

You're terminating in Canada and just connecting in LAX, yes? In theory, you won't have to have your bags unchecked and rechecked at LAX and your carrier should transfer them automatically. US Customs rules are (probably) irrelevant here, unless the Patriot Act has resulted in everything automatically being subject to US Customs regs, even if you're just passing through.

Those guidelines for non-Canadians (and, I assume, returning Canadians, as it matches what I've seen returning from trips to the States and Europe) for how much alcohol you can bring into the country are here.

You can bring more than that in, but you'll be paying very high duties on it.
posted by Shepherd at 7:56 AM on October 16, 2009

The technical limits are 1.5 free liters plus 45.45 liters that you need to pay duty on.

LAX is not a particular hassle. Make sure to declare your wine on the form and they generally just pass you through rather than trying to collect the small amount of duty. And honestly I'm not sure if the duties apply to a foreign citizen passing through anyways.

BC is who is going to kill you and possibly make this not worthwhile. This PDF has the rates. You need to pay GST, PST, and a hefty duty. It will basically double the price of a $10 bottle of wine.
posted by smackfu at 8:02 AM on October 16, 2009

If you're just going back out again--basically you're importing from Peru and then immediately exporting to Canada--I'm not sure if you'd actually be liable for the duty. However, I can't find any word to this effect on the CBP site.

At any rate, I'd just be prepared to pay the US duty, just in case. It's not very much; the first $1000 of goods above your duty-free exemption get hit at 3%, so the max is $30. The IRS tax on alcohol is supposedly about "21-31 cents per 750ml bottle of wine, 67 cents/champaigne, and $2.14/ hard liquor" (note that's from a secondary source, I didn't find it on the IRS site in a quick look). Not sure if the hard liquor is per bottle or per liter; my guess is per liter.

So, let's say you have 5 1.75L 'handle' bottles of hard liquor, each worth $30. You get one total freebie and one additional freebie if it's made in Peru. So now you're down to 3 bottles, 5.25 liters, $90 in value. Import duty would be $2.70, IRS tax would be $14.17, your total mandatory contribution to Uncle Sam is $16.87. Not exactly a bank-breaker.

If those numbers are even ballpark, you're not talking about a lot of money. I'd buy what you want, declare it, and offer to pay up if you get called on it. My suspicion is that they won't bother, unless you're bringing in so much that it looks like you're importing for commercial use, or somebody just decides to be an asshole and bust your chops a little.

I've brought in significantly more than the duty-free allotment, always declared it, and have never been stopped for it. (Always coming through Boston Logan.) I think the CBP people just figure it's not worth their time, although YMMV of course.

But if it's just a connection through LAX without switching airlines or actually spending any time in LA, I always thought that US duty wouldn't apply.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:56 AM on October 16, 2009

Just a warning -- they'll get you in Vancouver. (At least, they got me... ) And it's a ridiculously low amount you're allowed to bring through without paying duty -- i can't remember offhand, but it was just over 1 L, and definitely under 1.5. I brought ~2.3L back from Mexico, and made the mistake of declaring it. They wanted $80 in duty for that extra litre, which I let them have instead-- it was a freaking $10 bottle of Kahluha.

I don't know how the Peru-specific details work, but definitely check with customs BEFORE you leave. Just call them up and ask. I got a huge lecture about how ignorance of the specifics of the law was not an excuse...
posted by cgg at 9:19 AM on October 16, 2009

Response by poster: thanks for the replies guys! i don´t plan to bring much with me, just wanted to check that i wouldn´t have too much problems.
posted by cheemee at 6:27 PM on October 16, 2009

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