Buying from online store in USA. Do I pay sales tax?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by BreakGuy, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    NZ, South Pacific
    #1
    I like to make purchases in from businesses in the United States (specifically in New York City) by way of online purchases from these stores. I live in New Zealand and was wondering if I should be paying American Sales Tax on these purchases.
     
  2. macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    NZ, South Pacific
    #3
    I've read the following, which I take would also apply for those in foreign nations.

    Sales Tax on Internet Purchase Depends on Where the Buyer is Located

    Generally speaking, if an online retailer maintains a physical presence in a state that charges a sales tax on most purchases, then that online retailer must charge sales tax on any items that are sold to customers within the home state. However, if the online retailer is selling an item to a customer outside of its home state, then it is not required to collect sales tax from that customer.

    Here is an example. Suppose that Pete, who lives and works in California, likes to buy all of his cooking oils and spices for his restaurant over the internet. He normally orders from Restaurant Supplies Unlimited, a company that is headquartered and has its warehouse in Nevada. Because Pete orders his supplies for his restaurant from a vendor that is outside of California, Restaurant Supplies Unlimited does not have to charge Pete a sales tax.

    However, now suppose that Restaurant Supplies Unlimited has opened a warehouse in California to better supply their regular customers there. Now, because Pete's order will be taken and shipped from California, he must be charged sales tax on his order.
     
  4. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    Sales tax is based on where the item is shipped, not where it ships from. Use tax covers where sales tax leave off. Basically in that California example, you'd be responsible to file the use tax on these items ordered from out of state. With things like cars, it's a bit more complex, but basically you do end up paying.

    If you're in New Zealand and ordering something from New York, you would not owe New York sales tax unless someone is purchasing it on your behalf in New York. You might owe something like customs when it enters New Zealand, and I don't know what your local sales tax laws are like, but you wouldn't owe sales tax in New York when you're not taking possession in New York.
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    #5
    The US Apple Store online won't ship to New Zealand.

    The New Zealand Apple Store online will ship to New Zealand.

    Are you purchasing from the US Apple Store to have a delivery sent to you while you will be in New York City? If that is the case, you will be charged New York's sales tax. But then you will probably have to pay a customs tax when you return to New Zealand. I tried looking up for you what the rate is, but New Zealand has a terribly confusing (though friendly) customs web-site.

    I can't imagine any circumstance where it wouldn't be preferable to purchase from Apple's New Zealand online store.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    NZ, South Pacific
    #6
    I think this is the answer I'm after. I've purchased clothing before from a New York based store and never even thought about Sales Tax until someone mentioned it. I suppose I paid tax and didn't realise.

    As for customs in NZ, private imports where the local tax on the item would be greater than or equal to $60, payment of that tax is required to release the item. If the tax totals under $60 it is waived and not required to be collected before the item's release.

    I'm not talking about the Apple Store. I'm talking small retailers not located in New Zealand, rather the USA. But I thank you for your efforts :)
     
  7. macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #7
    Typically sales taxes in the us are levied against merchants who make sales within the state. If you're ordering from an online store, that sale should not be within the state of New York, so it shouldn't be subject to the state's sales tax.

    However, you will be responsible for New Zealand's import duties or use taxes because even though New Zealand can't charge you the New York sales tax, it can still charge you a use tax if one exists.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    NZ, South Pacific
    #8
    So when I make a purchase am I safe to ask for it tax free?
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    thewitt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    #9
    Based on your shipping address.
     
  10. Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #10
    If the company you are buying from does not have a presence in your state. You are still required to pay a tax. In Massachusetts its called a use tax.

    So if I buy a MacBook Pro from Amazon, I'll not have the sales tax added on but the state requires that I record the tax on my state taxes when I do them
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    NZ, South Pacific
    #11
    I'm not in another state - rather another nation, in another hemisphere. And as I mentioned earlier, I'm not buying Apple items... just items from retailers that I cannot get here in New Zealand.

    It doesn't make sense that I'd be paying American taxes on items that I purchased outside of the United States, especially because when purchasing online there is no defined location of transaction.
     
  12. Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Sorry I missed that, well then if you specify a US shipping address you will probably incur sales tax if you buy from apple. As stated you cannot buy from the US apple store and have it shipped to NZ. The only way to get it from the apple store is to use a US shipping address (and I think a US based credit card) and then you are liable to pay taxes on it.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    NZ, South Pacific
    #13
    Yeah forget Apple altogether. I'm talking about items such as clothing that cannot be bought here in New Zealand. There are some items I can only get from the United States and have shipped to New Zealand and in this case was wondering if sales tax is applicable to me as I'm purchasing from overseas and having it delivered to an overseas location.
     
  14. macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #14
    There should be no sales tax, however you could wind up paying a NZ import duty based on the value that the seller declares on the customs label.
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #15
    I have never been charged sales tax when buying from the US and having the items shipped to the UK. I have however had to pay various taxes upon arrival in the UK :mad:
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    Location:
    City of Bon Jovi, New Jersey, USA
    #16
    I have been buying items online from stores in Australia and having them shipped to the USA for the last 10 years and I NEVER pay ANY sales tax. So I am thinking you would NOT have to pay sales tax when buying items from US online stores and having them shipped to New Zealand.
     

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