According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection department, the United States Government doesn’t refund sales tax to tourists and foreign visitors.
Even though the USA does not have a tax-free program like Europe, foreigners and tourists can return taxes or buy without taxes by:
- Making a purchase in a state where there is no sales tax
- Making a purchase in a state that has a sales tax refund (or VAT refund)
By 2023, only five states do not charge VAT on the purchase of goods:
- New Hampshire
Although these states charge other forms of tax instead of VAT, the absence of a sales tax can make shopping more rewarding, especially for out-of-state visitors or tourists.
Everyone (both locals and foreigners) can buy goods without VAT in tax-free states. However, there are two more states, where just foreign tourists, such as people from Mexico, can return sales tax in the USA:
In those states, the program is similar to the European one: buy product and then return sales taxes. With that said, the approach varies per state:
- Louisiana – Shop at a tax-refundable store and show your passport to the cashier. To find out stores where you can shop without taxes, search for the white-red-blue stickers that indicate “Louisiana Tax-Free Shopping”. The seller will provide a tax return voucher that you can exchange for money at the New Orleans airport or downtown Lafayette. You can find out more about Tax-Free in the USA on the official website of the tax refund program.
- Texas – It works similarly, but in addition, a flight ticket or other travel document is also required. In Texas, you can also make a tax refund at the airport or at 14 other locations across the state.
Tax-Free in the USA allows you to save money while shopping in the US by buying goods without taxes or receiving return taxes for purchases that you have already made.