Tax-Free Shopping in the United States For Non-Residents and Tourists
When you make purchases in the United States (in person or online), you have tools that allow you to recover your purchase tax payments. It is important to note that this benefit is regulated by each state, so the tax refund rules will depend on the place where you make the purchase. This is a benefit that also applies to your Amazon purchases!
The states with the greatest benefits for purchases are Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, Oregon and Alaska (in the latter case it depends on the city), which do not charge sales tax, so there is no need to ask for a refund.
The rest of the States have particular rules, but as a general rule we see that the Centers where refunds can be requested are located at airports or main shopping malls.
The basic requirements to request a tax refund consist of presenting your passport, round-trip ticket, invoices for the goods and the card with which you made the purchase. The specifics vary by location.
Louisiana and Texas are the only states that allow you to recover sales tax on purchases of small tangible goods or items such as clothing, shoes, decorative items, souvenirs, etc. In Texas, for example, the sales tax ranges from 6.25% to 8% depending on the county, which you can recover as long as you make your purchase at a participating establishment and complete the required process at a Tax Refund Center. In Louisiana the requirements are quite similar.
It is important to note that the application has a processing fee, you will not recover 100% of the tax, and in many cases has limitations depending on the amount of the purchase or the type of item.
As for the State of Florida, there are no centers to apply for the tax refund. However, some stores offer benefits for foreigners upon showing a passport.
We cannot leave aside the thousands of people who make purchases on Amazon with a view to transfer them to their countries of origin. For these digital shoppers, we have good news, because Amazon has a link through which you can request a refund of taxes paid on items whose final destination is outside the United States. Here are some of the requirements: (i) your account user; (ii) purchase order number; (iii) proof of the means of transportation through which you moved the goods outside the United States; and (iv) the logistics of sale of the product must have been through Amazon, if it is through an independent seller, you will be invited to contact them directly.
Finally, we would like to point out that in other states there are "Sales Tax Holidays", which are periods during which the state tax is not applied to certain items. If you want to know more about this topic, you can visit our article on "Tax benefits for Labor Day in Florida (Florida Tool Time Tax Holiday)".