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Old 15.08.2011, 09:15
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VAT back when leaving US

Hi All,
I did a search and found one thread where someone asked this (back in 2010) but it went unanswered.

Im travelling to hte US next week and am hoping to buy an iPAD. Is the US sales tax (charged at the till) the equivalent of european VAT? Am I entitled to claim this back when leaving the US and then paying the swiss VAT here?
(Like as if I were buying something in Italy, I get Italian VAT back and pay Swiss when re-entrying switzerland).

Thanks in advance for replies
IM.
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Old 15.08.2011, 09:29
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Re: VAT back when leaving US

No you cant reclaim.
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Old 15.08.2011, 09:35
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Re: VAT back when leaving US

We've reclaimed tax back in the US - the airports we departed from were surprisingly easy and straightforward compared to the tiny office hidden away in the bowels of a UK airport.

Admittedly we didn't claim back on electrical goods (mainly clothing and other bits and bobs) so I don't know if your iPAD would be included in the tax back scheme but it's worth checking at the shop when you buy it - they have all the forms under the counter.
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Old 15.08.2011, 09:44
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Re: VAT back when leaving US

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Hi All,
I did a search and found one thread where someone asked this (back in 2010) but it went unanswered.

Im travelling to hte US next week and am hoping to buy an iPAD. Is the US sales tax (charged at the till) the equivalent of european VAT? Am I entitled to claim this back when leaving the US and then paying the swiss VAT here?
(Like as if I were buying something in Italy, I get Italian VAT back and pay Swiss when re-entrying switzerland).

Thanks in advance for replies
IM.
The US does not have a VAT, only a sales tax. Therefore you cannot get it back when you leave. Everyone pays sales tax, no matter what.

Sales taxes are calculated based on the state, county, and/or city you are in. There are tax holidays and some states don't have sales tax at all or a very low one (Delaware comes immediately to mind). Also, during back to school times, usually one or two weekends before, there is a sales tax holiday on certain items. Again it depends where you are shopping.
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Old 15.08.2011, 09:46
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Re: VAT back when leaving US

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The US does not have a VAT, only a sales tax. Therefore you cannot get it back when you leave. Everyone pays sales tax, no matter what.

Sales taxes are calculated based on the state, county, and/or city you are in. There are tax holidays and some states don't have sales tax at all or a very low one (Delaware comes immediately to mind). Also, during back to school times, usually one or two weekends before, there is a sales tax holiday on certain items. Again it depends where you are shopping.
So what tax would I have got back then? This was 2003, though, so maybe the rules have changed but I remember queuing up at the airport and handing forms to the chap and getting some money back...
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Old 15.08.2011, 09:50
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Re: VAT back when leaving US

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The US does not have a VAT, only a sales tax. Therefore you cannot get it back when you leave. Everyone pays sales tax, no matter what.

Sales taxes are calculated based on the state, county, and/or city you are in. There are tax holidays and some states don't have sales tax at all or a very low one (Delaware comes immediately to mind). Also, during back to school times, usually one or two weekends before, there is a sales tax holiday on certain items. Again it depends where you are shopping.
Ok thanks KeinFranzösisch - just to be clear by the way Im not trying to get out of paying tax. I am trying to pay tax in the most efficient way! So if I purchase an iPAD from Ireland (where Im from), I get the VAT back at Dublin Airport and pay VAT in Zurich Airport, if I get the iPAD in the states I pay sales tax in the states and then VAT in Zurich. Essentially I should consider the sales tax as part of the product base price (in terms of doing price comparison)?
Thanks
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Old 15.08.2011, 10:27
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Re: VAT back when leaving US

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So what tax would I have got back then? This was 2003, though, so maybe the rules have changed but I remember queuing up at the airport and handing forms to the chap and getting some money back...
You would have got back the state sales tax, that's the only possibility. I'm curious, did you shop in and travel out of the same state? I googled "US sales tax return for foreign visitors" and found some references to Lousiana and Texas. They might do it. But the US federal government does not refund state sales tax (and that's what you pay in the US) so it's something that has to be done within a state for purchases made in that state, as far as I can tell.
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Old 15.08.2011, 10:53
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Re: VAT back when leaving US

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So what tax would I have got back then? This was 2003, though, so maybe the rules have changed but I remember queuing up at the airport and handing forms to the chap and getting some money back...
You didn't get any money refunded to you by US Customs. You may have had a European VAT form stamped by US Customs that you mailed off somewhere to recover VAT you spent in Europe though.

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Ok thanks KeinFranzösisch - just to be clear by the way Im not trying to get out of paying tax. I am trying to pay tax in the most efficient way! So if I purchase an iPAD from Ireland (where Im from), I get the VAT back at Dublin Airport and pay VAT in Zurich Airport, if I get the iPAD in the states I pay sales tax in the states and then VAT in Zurich. Essentially I should consider the sales tax as part of the product base price (in terms of doing price comparison)?
Thanks
With the purchase price of Apple products predominately cheaper in the US, the sales tax may be a non-issue. You should be able to find the sales tax % for where you plan to purchase though through a google search. If you buy in Maryland it's 5%. If you buy in Virginia it's 6.5%. If you buy in Austin, Texas then it's something like 8%, just to give you an idea.
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Old 15.08.2011, 11:15
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Re: VAT back when leaving US

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You would have got back the state sales tax, that's the only possibility. I'm curious, did you shop in and travel out of the same state? I googled "US sales tax return for foreign visitors" and found some references to Lousiana and Texas. They might do it. But the US federal government does not refund state sales tax (and that's what you pay in the US) so it's something that has to be done within a state for purchases made in that state, as far as I can tell.
Correct, it's definitely on a state-by-state basis. Louisiana definitely has a tax-free shopping scheme for visitors, and New York has a tax-free week each year.
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