Tax-Free in the USA for Foreigners and Tourists from Other Countries

Tourists and foreign visitors can save up to 9% on their purchases in the USA thanks to tax-free shopping in several states. Tax-Free in the USA works differently than in Europe, so I prepared a guide on how foreigners can return sales taxes (tax refunds) or buy goods without VAT in the USA.

Is There a Tax-Free Program in the USA?

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)

Tax-Free Shopping in the USA – List of States

By 2023, only five states do not charge VAT on the purchase of goods:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon

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:

  • Louisiana
  • Texas

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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