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Q: Tax refund for visitors to the U.S.A ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: Tax refund for visitors to the U.S.A
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: aldosoto-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 13 Oct 2004 13:23 PDT
Expires: 19 Oct 2004 16:54 PDT
Question ID: 414379
How does a visitor for pleasure in the U.S. that does shopping can get
the tax payed refunded or returned when leaving the U.S.?

Clarification of Question by aldosoto-ga on 13 Oct 2004 13:31 PDT
That is, a foreign visitor of course, specifically from Mexico.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Tax refund for visitors to the U.S.A
From: enlighteened-ga on 13 Oct 2004 13:32 PDT
I have never heard of such a thing,

I went to Canada and before we left we bought from the duty free store
and that was it.

This is for 1 state what state are or were you in?
Subject: Re: Tax refund for visitors to the U.S.A
From: pinkfreud-ga on 13 Oct 2004 13:43 PDT
If you are talking about sales tax, in my location it is not
refundable, nor (in my opinion) should it be. I doubt that this is
different in other places in the US. Typically, the only purchases on
which you do not owe sales tax are those in which the item purchased
is destined for resale, and the tax will be collected later.

If you think this is unjust, consider that (in the United States)
sales tax is locally-based. Cities, counties, and states have many
expenses, and as a visitor you benefited from the services and
facilities that are subsidized by sales tax revenues. Why should a
visitor be exempt from the tax if the visitor uses the roads,
buildings, and other facilities that are supported by sales tax? If
you had been the victim of a crime, would you not have expected the
tax-supported police force to assist you? If your auto had caught on
fire, would you not have hoped that the local fire department would
come to your aid? Did you drive on any roads, use any airports, or
visit any public facilities such as museums or parks? I think you can
see the rationale here.
Subject: Re: Tax refund for visitors to the U.S.A
From: wengland-ga on 13 Oct 2004 13:53 PDT
In many countries with a national Value Added Tax (VAT), you can apply
for a tax refund on products purchased for use out of country.

The USA does not have a national VAT, and thus the tax cannot be refunded.

Local, state and city sales taxes are paid based on the district in
which you purchased the product, and are not refundable upon leaving
the district.
Subject: Re: Tax refund for visitors to the U.S.A
From: nelson-ga on 13 Oct 2004 14:09 PDT
You can only avoid the tax by having the merchant ship directly out of state.
Subject: Re: Tax refund for visitors to the U.S.A
From: aldosoto-ga on 13 Oct 2004 14:20 PDT
I agree with your logic pinkfreud-ga, but I do know that in CA there
is or was a process to drawback taxes for foreign visitors. Many
people do not like to go through the hassle of this but when the
amount is considerable it is well worth it, that is why I'm doing some
research for a friend (I'm not the foreigner).

But there is a counter part to your logic, this is an incentive for
foreigners to spend and invest their money in the U.S. instead of
another country including their own, in their own country this a cash
flow leakage, therefore it attracts business to the U.S. helping in a
positive way the nations balance of trade and affecting in a negative
way the balance of trade for the foreign country which is one of the
causes of inflation.

Subject: Re: Tax refund for visitors to the U.S.A
From: hummer-ga on 13 Oct 2004 17:59 PDT

In regards to Canada, visitors can receive a GST tax refund:

Tax refund for visitors:
"As a non-resident visitor, you can claim a refund for goods and
services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) you paid on eligible goods
and short-term accommodation while visiting Canada.

To qualify for a tax refund, you have to meet the following conditions:
* you are not a resident of Canada at the time you apply for a refund;
* you purchased eligible goods for personal use, eligible short term
accommodation or both;
* you paid GST/HST on these purchases;
* you have original receipts (we do not accept photocopies, debit or
credit card slips;
* you have Proof of Export for the eligible goods you purchased in Canada;
* the total of your purchase amounts (before taxes) must be at least CAN$200;
* each receipt for eligible goods shows a minimum total purchase
amount (before taxes) of CAN$50; and
* the goods are removed from Canada within 60 days of the date you bought them."

GST176 Application for Visitor Tax Refund:


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