US VAT/Sale Tax and availability question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nerdbert, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. nerdbert macrumors regular

    nerdbert

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #1
    Maybe someone from the US can enlighten me on this one: Most states in the US have a sale tax the way I understand it. If you buy something online within the US this tax does not apply.
    So my question is: The "cheapest" MacBook Pro costs $1999 in Apple's online store. If I buy it in SF in a local store is the price tag the same or do I pay more due to Californian or local taxes?

    As you might have guessed I'm asking this because Apple charges the same nominal price in Europe ($1999 = €1999, which makes a difference of €622). In other words it might be cheaper to buy a plane ticket and buy the thing in the US than doing it at home...

    Another related question: Is the version featuring anti-glare coating usually in stock? Wouldn't make much sense to show up in a store just to be told that it takes a week to order this option...

    Any hints are appreciated.
    -nerdbert
     
  2. Mindflux macrumors 68000

    Mindflux

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    #2
    If you walk into a store and buy it, Tax.

    If you live in Texas, buy from California and that establishment does not have any offices in Texas, no tax. (This does not apply to Apple, since Apple has Texas offices).

    For instance, I buy from amazon "taxless", since they have no facilities in Texas. They are located in another state.
     
  3. kkat69 macrumors 68020

    kkat69

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga
    #3
    Exactly. You can bet places like Apple, JCPenny, Walmart, Target, etc will most likely have a tax applied when you check out in most states since as Mindflux said, there are local stores in that state.

    For sake of arguement,
    JoeBlowElectronics.com which is strictly an online retail outlet won't be taxing it's consumers but will probably be forced to tax people who live in the same state they operate out of.

    Amazon, if you buying FROM amazon and not via one of it's affiliate stores, your more than likely not going to be taxed.
     
  4. nerdbert thread starter macrumors regular

    nerdbert

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #4
    Thanks to you and kkat69 for the prompt reply. My fears just became very true ;)

    However, a friend of mine is flying to SF on Sunday for some congress at the university and wanted to help me out. How much would he pay for a MBP at a local Apple store?

    edit: And is it possible to reclaim said tax at customs when leaving?
     
  5. Mindflux macrumors 68000

    Mindflux

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    #5

    base model is 1999 + the tax rate for the City/County the Apple store is in.

    And reclaiming taxes? I don't believe so. Not quickly anyway if at all.
     
  6. nerdbert thread starter macrumors regular

    nerdbert

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #6
    Guess I'll have to call some store in SF tomorrow to find out - with my accent and unusual request I guess I'll amuse the staff all over the weekend...

    I'll check. Sale tax seems to be very similar to VAT, which you can reclaim when you are leaving the country. In some tourist areas over here (Berlin) they even advertise it in front of stores. But it might be a very different story in the states...
     
  7. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #7
    Sales tax in San Francisco is 8.5% and is non-refundable when you leave the country.
     
  8. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #8
    US Sales Taxes and VAT (not used in the States) are two completely separate beasties. Sales Tax is added at the point of final (end consumer) sale only, and can include State, County/Parish, and City (depending on the specific locality of the store), and is calculated on the combined total of the purchase, not individual items. Depending of the product, FET (Federal Excise Tax) will be added, but PC's aren't included in that. VAT, on the other hand, is tacked on at every point of production (where value is added), and the end consumer pays all of it, including the retailer's final part.

    US Sales Taxes are generally not refundable for consumer purchases, and are still subject to your country's tariffs and duties.

    Many (if not all) Canadian Provinces have tax refund counters at major retailers for non-Canadian (or Province) citizens, generally only refundable if the amount exceeds about $625 USD.
     
  9. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #9
    So go to the East Coast and drive down to Delaware, the "home of tax-free shopping." There you'll find an Apple Store in the Christiana Mall, near Newark, DE, and you'll be able to walk in and buy all your Apple goodies at US prices without paying any sales tax.

    Here's an overview of sales tax rates by state.
     
  10. nerdbert thread starter macrumors regular

    nerdbert

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #10
    Now we are talking numbers. It's still a good bargain compared to the (fantasy) price they charge in Europe.
    I must admit that I still don't see the difference (apart from the aspect of local taxes). VAT only applies to consumers as well. If you do B2B you might have to pay it, but you get it back from your tax institution in a matter of days. So it's not really a big deal...
    Thanks for the hint, but I'm afraid there is not enough time to go there. Plus it might cost more to organize a trip than what I could save...
     
  11. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #11
    Bare in mind that you are still liable for VAT. Though you should still save €100-€200 when all is said and done on a $1999 purchase.
     

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