Thursday, October 10, 2013

Obtain a refund of sales tax paid while visiting the United States?

Went with my grandpa Canon--the best camera on this planet and the once-upon-a-time technology-- to search for its replacement earlier today.  Then, just now, when monkeying around searching online for the best deal on that model we set our eyes on, I saw the tax added to the final price.

It reminds me of the things people said about the refund of sales tax when visiting foreign countries.  Ya, in a previous visit to Canada, I almost got to have the GST refunded.  Unfortunately, the item I got was something like 199.9 while, in order to get the tax refunded, the bill had to be at least 200 canadian dollars or something like that.  Oops... bye bye GST... lol

So, it got me all intrigued... would I be able to obtain a refund of sales tax paid while visiting the United States?

According to the US Customs and Border Protection,

"The United States Government does not refund sales tax to foreign visitors. Sales tax charged in the U.S. is paid to individual states, not the Federal government - the same way that VAT is paid in many countries. If you are making a major purchase, such as a car, and you intend to export the item, you will want to contact the State taxation authority in the state where you will be making the purchase. They will be able to inform you of their criteria for refunding any sales tax paid."

In other words, as a visitor in the US, if you really want to claim the refund of the sales tax paid, you have to contact the State taxation authority where the purchase is made.  

Personally, since it's only a point-and-shoot camera I intend to buy (not a car), and the tax for the camera is less than 25 US dollars, I am just gonna forget about it and entertain the issue no more.  As for you, if it's a major item you are purchasing, make sure you contact the taxation authority of the state.  Bon Chance!

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