Thread: US state sales taxes ?

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  1. #1 US state sales taxes ? 
    Senior Member Jon Nash's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Los Angeles - USA & Brighton - UK
    Im a UK resident and often purchase equipment when Im in the states. Iv'e only just realised that I pay such a variety of taxes across the country.
    I pay 8% sales tax on items i buy or have delivered in California and my question is can I reclaim that tax when I export the item permanently from the state or country? Also do I pay similar taxes for items shipped to other states? I.e If I buy an item from California and have it shipped to Texas do I still pay the 8%
    Does any one have a good reference guide to state sales taxes.. Iv'e been googling . Thanks in advance.
    Twitter @JonnyTheNash

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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Terry VerHaar's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    Not sure about the reclaiming thing but I can tell you that you don't pay the sales tax (up front, more on that later*) if you buy from a CA company when they ship to TX, as long as they don't have an official business location in TX. An example: you can buy from RED and have it shipped to Florida (where they have no official business) and NOT pay tax*. However, if you have the RED products delivered to somewhere in CA, WA, or NV, RED will charge you the state sales tax (assuming there is one) since RED somehow or other has businesses set up in those states. (There may be others but I am not sure).

    * Now, officially, you still owe that tax to the state where it is shipped - it is just not collected at the time. The company (RED) just doesn't have the responsibility of collecting it from you and submitting it to the state themselves. You are obliged to report the sale to the state where the merchandise is shipped and pay the appropriate tax. Now, pragmatically...

    Pretty simple, huh? LOL
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2009
    I can't answer your export question, but whether or not you pay a state tax depends upon the company you are doing business with. To use your example, you would only need to pay a Texas state tax if Red had a presence in Texas. So, If Red had an office or retail store in Texas then sales completed in Texas (delivered to Texas) would be subject to Texas sales tax, whatever that rate is. You wouldn't pay the Cali 8%.

    There are a variety of sales tax exemptions available to entities within the U.S.. I am not qualified to comment on them specifically, but generally they are point of sale exemptions in which you don't pay the tax when you buy the item because they are accounted for at another time. In effect they are not exemptions at all, rather deferments.

    Edit: Damn, Terry beat me to it. :-)
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  4. #4  
    If you are shipping overseas there is no sales tax, but you are responsible for import duties and taxes. If you take delivery in a taxable state and you don't have a resale certificate then you have to pay the tax, I don't believe you can get it back if you export after accepting delivery in the US.
    Alan Rosenfeld
    Production Sales
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