Any way to reclaim U.S. state taxes on export? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Sorry for a not exactly LF-related question, but I think this might be interesting for all of us foreigners buying expensive foto stuff in the U.S. from time to time...

Has anybody succeeded in reclaiming the state tax on the goods you purchased and exported from the U.S.?
Here in Germany, this is no problem (although it involves quite a bit of bureaucratic overhead), but a friend of mine has been told (in stores in N.Y.C.) that it is impossible to reclaim U.S. state taxes, regardless of wether you are a non U.S. resident and the products purchased will be exported.

-- Stefan Dalibor (, November 24, 2000


I too live in Germany, and when making purchases in the US, via Internet or telephone or in person, if the goods are being SHIPPED out of the State in which they were bought, and Germany is certainly to be considered, "out of State", no State sales tax will be charged. This goes for items purchased, for example in Ohio and shipped to another State like Indiana, again, no State sales tax will be charged. You might even find a Salesperson willing to ship an empty box, so that you can take the item with you, and still save on the tax, but I think this scheme has been used so often that they are becoming reluctant to play along anymore.

-- William Levitt (, November 24, 2000.

Note that if the merchant has a presence in the state you're having items shipped to, you will still be charged sales tax. For example, since Calumet opened retail outlets in California, items shipped by mail from Illinois to California are subject to California sales tax. Even when the merchant has only a wharehouse or, in the case of Light Impressions (if I remember correctly) a phone order center, the tax will still be added.

-- Sal Santamaura (, November 24, 2000.

Although not directly on point, be aware that many states have "use" or privilege taxes that require you to pay a tax equivalent to their prevailing sales tax on items that are purchased out of state. Most people don't bother, of course, but some states have been aggressive in pursuing this and if you're one of the unlucky ones, you may find yourself receiving an unexpected tax bill in the mail someday.

-- Jeffrey Goggin (, November 24, 2000.

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