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How to claim a tax refund in a USA airport

An American holiday could well be the trip of a lifetime, but you could make it even better if you purchase something expensive and save money if the exchange rate’ favourable. You will also be saving on any purchase tax. If you’re thinking of making a major purchase while you’re in the States, we’ll tell you how to claim a tax refund in a USA airport.

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State not federal

The first thing you need to know about tax refunds in the USA is that the federal government doesn’t refund sales tax to foreign visitors. That’s up to the individual state in which the item was purchased. To find out exactly how you claim the tax back, you should speak to the State taxation authority whose contact details can be found at statelocalgov.net.

Sales tax

The amount of sales tax added to a purchase depends on the state, but as a guide you can expect anywhere between 5% and 10% to be added as sales tax. For example, the state of Massachusetts has a 6.25% sales tax, Florida’s rate is 6%, while New Yorkers pay 8.25%. Unfortunately, there’s no mechanism for claiming your tax back when you leave the country so don’t expect to find a tax refund booth like those found at London Heathrow and Gatwick where travellers from non-European Union countries to the UK can claim back the VAT they’ve paid.

Louisiana

Louisiana is probably not everyone’s first choice for a holiday destination but it's a state that refunds its visitors the sales tax they've paid. If you’re flying out of Louisiana, you’ll need to show your passport to the merchant you’re purchasing from and then claim your refund from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport’s refund desk. More information can be found at louisianataxfree.com.

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