Tax refund for foreigners?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Nermal, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #1
    Hi,

    In the past, I've visited Australia and England and I've been able to claim back GST/VAT on purchases over a certain threshold since I'm not a resident of those countries and am therefore not required to pay tax. Does anyone know whether the US (specifically California) has a similar system? If so, where can I find information about the minimum threshold etc?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #2
    Last time I checked, there was no such system. Only the "duty free" rip-off at the airports.
     
  3. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
  4. Queso Suspended

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #4
    LOL. I clicked on this expecting some rant about illegal immigrants :D
     
  5. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #5
    The tax you pay in California is a state levied sales tax, whereas both GST and VAT are federal government levied valued added taxes. Since here in the US, all 50 states (and even different counties) levy different amounts of sales tax, it would be very difficult to have a refund system like countries with a uniform VAT do. Hence why, in most places (I believe Louisiana is an exception), there isn't a sales tax refund for international tourists. It could also have to do with sales tax regulations not recognizing the difference between a tourist and any other purchaser, but I'm by no means familiar with most sales tax codes.
     
  6. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    #6
    If you pay into our tax system earning money in this country you can file for a refund federally as far as California goes I have no idea how their state income taxes work, but federally any money you put in above what is required you are entitled to get back no matter which state you paid for the federal part of your taxes in plenty of non citizens pay into our system and file returns all the time.

    I suggest getting with a tax service like H&R block or another firm to discuss this rather than asking here.
     
  7. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #7
    This is just for purchases as a foreigner. I don't work in the US or get income from there. I was just wondering whether there was a sales tax refund system, and it appears that the answer is no.
     
  8. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #8

    You are completely confused by his question. He is asking if you can claim back State Sales tax on items purchased here and taken out of the country. I assume he wants to buy an Apple Computer or Iphone and take it back with him. In some countries Like Canada and the UK you show the item and the receipt at the airport and you can get a refund of the tax paid. Not so in the US as someone pointed out in an earlier post this tax is levied at the State level and hence there is no easy way to claim it back at the airport.
     
  9. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    #9
    You are asking the wrong people about this though your best bet is to ask a tax lawyer there may be some way of getting a refund for taxes paid for your visit depending on what laws are in place (no guarantees, I am just some random guy on a forum so don't take my word for it) rather than asking in an internet forum--but otherwise I hope you enjoyed your visit to the U.S. and got home with just as many holes in your body as you came here with :D

    Even some states have refunds for sales taxes if you manage to keep the receipts and file the proper paperwork here in New york state for example I can offset my income tax by deducting some of the sales taxes I have paid to increase my refund, The OP is asking the wrong people about his situation and I advised him to consult with someone besides us forumites on the matter which is the more appropriate course.
     
  10. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #10
    I haven't been; this is actually for an online purchase but I was trying to find out whether it was valid for purchases in person before I opened the "online" can of worms. But last time I was over there, I survived (mostly; a little while ago someone here in NZ asked how long I've lived in NZ and where in the US I'm from!) :eek:
     
  11. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    #11
    Haha me too.. thought we were going into a Duncan Bannatyne / James Khan type affair in here.
     
  12. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Not anymore I'm afraid. They cancelled it.
     
  13. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #13
    What? Since when was the UK a federalist government?
     
  14. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #14
    Hehehe, I thought the same thing when I read that :p
     
  15. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #15
    Since when is the UK the only country to levy a VAT? VAT isn't a UK specific term. There are federations that levy a VAT.

    Besides, you get the point. :p
     

Share This Page