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Tax refund on purchase.

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Jun 6th, 2012, 02:59 AM
  #1
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Tax refund on purchase.

Hi, I've tried to google this question but without any luck so I'm turning to the trusty Fodorite's for assistance.

I am hopeful that my husband will be able to buy me a new handbag while in Boston, which is the last stop of his current trip. What I want to know is whether it's possible to claim back the sales tax at the airport when leaving the country.

I'm probably incredible stupid, but I can't even work out if/what tax is chargeable on a $500 leather bag and if it's worthwhile bothering to try to do this.

Any assistance you can provide would be wonderful! Thanks Cathie
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Jun 6th, 2012, 03:53 AM
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I don;t know what the sales tax is in Mass - so don;t know the amount. But the US does not have any system for returning sales tax. The only way to avoid it is to ship the purchase outside the state - if you're willing to risk the item to the mail - and often once you insure the purchase the shipping would cost about the same as the tax.

I know sometimes people did this - buying in NY and shipping to no sales tax on clothes NJ - but it doesn't make sense unless it's a really big ticket item. On a $500 purse you would save about $40 - much of which would be eaten up by the shipping cost and insurance.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 04:38 AM
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Your husband can avoid paying sales tax if he can purchase the bag in a state which doesn't impose sales tax. Near by New Hampshire and slightly less near by Delaware don't.

It's hardly a stupid question as each sales tax is imposed at the state level and differs in each state. It's 6.25% in Massachusetts. $31.25 on $500.

Any chance the bag might be available at any of the duty free shops at Logan?
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Jun 6th, 2012, 07:29 AM
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In NYC the tax is 8.25% - but even that is hardly making it worthwhile to trek to another state.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 07:50 AM
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Massachusetts doesn't tax clothing, but I think they do tax handbags, which are usually not combined with clothing. If so, sales tax is not refundable. It's a state thing (there's no federal sales tax or VAT in the U.S. to refund). But there are some outlet malls on the way to Portland, ME, where people from Boston shop and get cheaper, if not tax-free, goods.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 08:59 AM
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The only state in the US that refunds sales tax to foreign visitors is Louisiana.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 10:14 AM
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Massachusetts charges sales tax on clothing items that cost over $175. Tax paid is on the amount over the $175. Pocketbooks are taxed at the full 6.25% for the entire amount as has been said above.

Maine has a 5% sales tax on all clothing and most everything else.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 11:28 AM
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If he will be in New Hampshire (or Delaware) before coming to Boston he can buy it without sales tax and either carry it or mail it to you. I hope it can be found someplace other than Massachusetts.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 11:37 AM
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Depending on what specific bag you're looking for, he may be able to find it at discount or sale price. The savings may be much greater than the $30 in tax. On the other hand if you're already buying a $500 bag, that may be so much cheaper than what it would cost you at home, that the extra $30 doesn't matter that much. I know it's annoying not to be able to get the tax back (I feel that way when I travel, too!) but I try to look at the overall price and see if it's worth it to me.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 02:36 PM
  #10
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Thanks everyone, I certainly feel clearer about the situation.

He will be in NYC before he goes to Boston but only for a day and a half so I don't expect him to lose time there shopping. He has 7 days in Boston at a conference at Harvard and I expect he will have time to go to either Neiman Marcus or to the Marc by Marc Jacobs shop for me.

obxgirl, I tried to do a bit of online searching for duty free shopping at Logan, but couldn't find anything specific about Marc Jacobs.

I may even buy it online and have it shipped to Australia, some US stores offer free international shipping now for goods of that value.

Thanks everyone, Cathie
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Jun 6th, 2012, 05:05 PM
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If they are shipping out of country they shouldn't charge you sales tax - that would solve the problem.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 05:45 PM
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Actually you might be able to us it online and have it hipped to his hotel in Boston. Not all online purchases are taxed here. At least not yet. Check out Bluefly.com to see if it's offered there, or on eBay.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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nytraveller, I didn't realise that. Thanks for the info.

I will also check Bluefly.

thanks, Cathie
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Jun 6th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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tell hubby to list the entire purchase as a Boston lunch on his expense report... we'll be on the lookout for a snappy Aussie carrying a Marc jacobs handbag through the airport...
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Jun 7th, 2012, 03:41 AM
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OMG Gary, you are bad!! But what a great idea. If only......
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