Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Old Aug 18th 2011, 4:24 am
  #1  
Forum Regular
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 41
choops is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Well, the first 3 months living here has certainly flown by and now i find myself going back to the UK for a week in September.

Soooo my question is..Is there any way to claim back tax on teh purchases I have made since arriving here? Has anyone ever done this? What are the possibilities/limitations?

Thanks!
Colin
choops is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 4:43 am
  #2  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 4,896
md95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

I am not quite sure what you mean but I assume that you are thinking of something like the VAT refund that non-EU visitors to the UK can claim on goods that they bought in the UK and are taking with them when they leave the UK.

If that is what you are asking then the short answer is "no".

The slightly longer answer is "not bloody likely" ...

I am not aware of any such program for visitors to the US and, even if there were, it would have to operate at the state and local level which is where sales taxes are levied. Since the states and cities are pretty much all broke if not actually bankrupt the chances of something like this happening are essentially zero.

(... and. in any case, you aren't actually taking the things that you bought out of the US on a permanent basis are you ...)
md95065 is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 11:35 am
  #3  
Forum Regular
 
MrSensical's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2010
Location: Alaska/UK
Posts: 41
MrSensical is just really niceMrSensical is just really niceMrSensical is just really niceMrSensical is just really niceMrSensical is just really niceMrSensical is just really niceMrSensical is just really niceMrSensical is just really niceMrSensical is just really nice
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

More important question, where can I get some of what you've been smoking?
MrSensical is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 1:23 pm
  #4  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 180
RayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud ofRayM has much to be proud of
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Maybe the OP is confused by the fact that if you visit some countries, on holiday, you can claim back taxes on some items purchased in the country during your holiday. I seem to remember I did this when I visited Canada a few years ago.
The other side of this is that when you go back to the UK you have to pay duty on the stuff you bring back that is valued over your duty free allowance (£390?).
RayM is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 6:08 pm
  #5  
Grumpy Know-it-all
 
Steve_'s Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 8,928
Steve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

No, sales/use tax is a State thing so there is no method you can use to claim it back in your situation.

One interesting anomaly I found buying things in the US by mail order from outside of the State where I was is that because I am a resident of Canada, I don't have to pay sales/use tax on my out-of-State purchases. Unlike Americans, who buy everything out-of-State by mail order to evade the tax but legally speaking they're supposed to remit it to the State, although hardly anyone does.

In Arizona they don't even have a form to do it, although State law requires it. California is quite anal on trying to get people to remit it though.
Steve_ is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 6:30 pm
  #6  
SUPER MODERATOR
 
Jerseygirl's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 82,809
Jerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by Steve_ View Post
No, sales/use tax is a State thing so there is no method you can use to claim it back in your situation.

One interesting anomaly I found buying things in the US by mail order from outside of the State where I was is that because I am a resident of Canada, I don't have to pay sales/use tax on my out-of-State purchases. Unlike Americans, who buy everything out-of-State by mail order to evade the tax but legally speaking they're supposed to remit it to the State, although hardly anyone does.

In Arizona they don't even have a form to do it, although State law requires it. California is quite anal on trying to get people to remit it though.
I have always paid sales tax on mail orders...internet orders have closed that loophole now.
Jerseygirl is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 7:20 pm
  #7  
BE Forum Addict
 
hobbes79's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Andover, MA
Posts: 1,703
hobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond reputehobbes79 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
I have always paid sales tax on mail orders...internet orders have closed that loophole now.
Really? I never pay any tax on Amazon orders, for example.
hobbes79 is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 8:23 pm
  #8  
BE Forum Addict
 
Anian's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: WA state
Posts: 2,784
Anian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond reputeAnian has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

My local outlet mall has some kind of deal about claiming tax back at the airport (it gets lots of Asian tourists) but I'm not sure quite what it is since I would never be able to claim it. Might have just been a special promotion or something.
Anian is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 8:50 pm
  #9  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
sir_eccles's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 8,106
sir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by hobbes79 View Post
Really? I never pay any tax on Amazon orders, for example.
I think it depends if the company has a physical presence in your state. Amazon in particular has been quite busy arguing with California about it I think.
sir_eccles is offline  
Old Aug 18th 2011, 11:46 pm
  #10  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Michael's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 10,678
Michael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond reputeMichael has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
I have always paid sales tax on mail orders...internet orders have closed that loophole now.
No, currently federal law says that states cannot tax internet orders unless there is a physical presence in that state (normally means that the company directly sells its products in that state).

Large companies that sell their products products directly from their web site (Dell, Sony, HP, etc.) have always been considered to have a physical presence and have to pay the sales taxes when shipped anywhere but lately companies such as Amazon were told to also pay sales taxes to the state of California for sales to California residents because they have warehouses in the state (Amazon has not complied).
Michael is offline  
Old Aug 19th 2011, 3:41 am
  #11  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Boiler's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: Colorado
Posts: 33,363
Boiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond reputeBoiler has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by Michael View Post
No, currently federal law says that states cannot tax internet orders unless there is a physical presence in that state (normally means that the company directly sells its products in that state).

Large companies that sell their products products directly from their web site (Dell, Sony, HP, etc.) have always been considered to have a physical presence and have to pay the sales taxes when shipped anywhere but lately companies such as Amazon were told to also pay sales taxes to the state of California for sales to California residents because they have warehouses in the state (Amazon has not complied).
States can do what they want to their residents, so each one will vary.
Boiler is offline  
Old Aug 19th 2011, 3:55 am
  #12  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 4,896
md95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond reputemd95065 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
States can do what they want to their residents, so each one will vary.
Yes, states can require that their residents pay taxes on goods that are purchase out of state (and California already does that) - what they can't do is require a company that doesn't have any presence in the state to collect the taxes for them.
md95065 is offline  
Old Aug 19th 2011, 4:46 am
  #13  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 90
iray is just really niceiray is just really niceiray is just really niceiray is just really niceiray is just really niceiray is just really niceiray is just really niceiray is just really nice
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by Michael View Post
No, currently federal law says that states cannot tax internet orders unless there is a physical presence in that state (normally means that the company directly sells its products in that state).

Large companies that sell their products products directly from their web site (Dell, Sony, HP, etc.) have always been considered to have a physical presence and have to pay the sales taxes when shipped anywhere but lately companies such as Amazon were told to also pay sales taxes to the state of California for sales to California residents because they have warehouses in the state (Amazon has not complied).
You seem to contradict yourself slightly here. If the law states that states cannot tax internet orders unless there is physical presence, then the only reason sales tax would be collected would be if the company had a physical presence in the state. If Dell, Sony, HP etc had no physical presence in the state, yet charged sales tax, some customer would have sued them. What is more likely the case is that Dell, Sony, HP have or had retail stores or workforce (sales reps, techs) in each states which counted as a physical presence, and therefore they complied with the requirement to collect sales tax.

The Amazon issue isn't that they have warehouses in a state (to my knowledge, they don't have a warehouse in CA) - and in fact shipping centres are not regarded as retail locations. What is at issue is whether a guy residing in CA, IL etc who has a website and happens to post affiliate links to Amazon on his website is regarded as working for Amazon. Amazon's reaction to laws passed by various states claiming that affiliates = physical presence has been to terminate all affiliate relationships in that state. I'm not sure why Amazon elected to collect tax in NY (while appealing the law change) without terminating affiliate relationships, but they did.

As a closing note, it's important to remember that technically the tax should be paid *by someone*, unless you're in one of the five states with no sales tax. The argument is that Amazon shouldn't be required to collect sales tax, not that a customer is exempt from the requirement to report and pay sales tax to his state.
iray is offline  
Old Aug 19th 2011, 5:41 pm
  #14  
Grumpy Know-it-all
 
Steve_'s Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 8,928
Steve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
I have always paid sales tax on mail orders...internet orders have closed that loophole now.
Not exactly, some States (I think Colorado was one) require companies that take orders over the web to pay sales tax to the State, however the argument the companies are using iirc is that such a law violates the commerce clause to the Constitution as they have no physical presence in that State. So now States are taking the slightest hint of a presence in their State to say the company owes them sales tax.

So you end up in a situation were some resellers collect sales tax regardless to save hassle; some collect it only for States that have that law; and some basically just give them the finger and say "take me to court".

Like I said, there are legitimate reasons (and this is why those laws piss me off) where you are exempt from sales tax, e.g. you have a vacation home in the US but are a resident of another country. You are not resident in that State therefore you do not owe sales or use tax on your out-of-state purchases. If I took the purchases home to Canada then they would be subject to GST and perhaps duty.

Bit of a legal limbo really for your possessions because the taxable event never takes place.
Steve_ is offline  
Old Aug 19th 2011, 5:47 pm
  #15  
Grumpy Know-it-all
 
Steve_'s Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 8,928
Steve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond reputeSteve_ has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Can I claim back Sales Tax?

Originally Posted by iray View Post
unless you're in one of the five states with no sales tax.
What I've found amusing in the past is that everyone in Canada comes to Alberta to shop (hence the West Edmonton Mall) because we have the lowest sales tax in the country, but people in Alberta go to Montana to shop because there is no sales tax!

If you factor in two tanks of gas and x days in a hotel it's a complete waste of time given the pretty low customs exemption limits (if you stay for a week it's a maximum of $750) but it's all about perception and whether CBSA catch you. If you go to Peach Arch POE and go into the hall for pedestrians you see all these people wearing these rather new looking clothes on their way back.
Steve_ is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.