Originally Posted by something
Edit: Oh wait Damius is in Canada, I'm in the States. Maybe it's just in Canada that they're doing it?
Yeah, in Canada, there is "basically" no tax-free exemption even for goods imported for personal use, so anything is "at risk" of being taxed. (There is a small exemption for gifts, but it's tiny, and abusing this can cause you to be taxed anyway or even to have the shipment returned to sender by customs.) But whether they actually charge the taxes or not depends on a lot of factors. The government-run postal system is about 50/50 in my experience (a bit higher odds if your package is worth more, less if worth less). For a long time, every Amazon JP package from DHL was being taxed, but then one day they just stopped. And now Damius noted that, out of the blue, he was charged duty on one package. So the question is whether this is a trend or a fluke.
I'm guessing that each country probably has its own rules, so whatever caused them to stop charging taxes in Canada may not have had any impact one way or another elsewhere. But hard to say for sure... In general, my impression is that they didn't regularly charge taxes in the U.S. except under certain circumstances? I also think the tax-free exemption is higher.