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  01-30-2013, 12:22 AM
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a friend of mine will be visiting usa in a few months time.
i was thinking of getting some camera gear through him from usa.

i know that there might be federal level sales taxes.
and then there might be state level sales taxes.
and each state is different.
hence i need your help on figuring out what is what.

so, imagine my friend is visiting california.
and i'm buying my gear via amazon usa.
do you know whether i'll have to pay federal sales taxes and then
california sales taxes as well?

i logged into amazon usa and experimented up to the point of checkout.
i used your address as the delivery destination.
as far as i could tell, there was no added sales tax!

so, please pass on whatever knowledge you have in this area.
or point me to a website that has accurate information.

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  01-30-2013, 03:31 AM
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There is no federal sales tax. Does not exist. USA doesn't have anything like EU VAT, or Canadian PST/GST. USA does, however, have a federal income tax.

Sales tax per state varies. Oregon, for example, has no state sales tax. Tennessee sales tax is amongst the highest: 9.25% to 9.75% in most locations. Everbody pays -- just not the same way. If no sales tax, you inevitably have high property taxes, or even state incomes taxes. In TN, there's no state income tax, and property tax is rather low. (Half of what I'd pay in Texas?)

Federal law doesn't requires state-to-state sales tax. However states can insist on it. In TN, it's actually against the law to not pay sales tax voluntarily, if the store doesn't collect it. It's called the "Use Tax".

However, nobody pays it, which is why TN is amongst the states that sued Amazon. TN shipments will have sales tax starting in 2014 or 2015. Texas starting have sales tax added in July 2012. California fell sometime last year. Tax is charged based on shipping destination at Amazon, if the state requires it.

The brick-and-mortar (B&M) retail stores always charged sales tax. So you'd have to pay in-person.

Essentially, all stores and states have taxes -- though you can get away with tax evasion on certain sites, in certain states.

It would almost be cheaper to import that to UK, than buy to in CA. Or be a wash, or close.

Same for DVDs, etc.
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  01-31-2013, 03:00 AM
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thanks for that info.

in some specific cases, things are still cheaper in USA than in Europe, even after adding USA sales tax.

for example: nikon 50mm f1.2
amazon usa: $650 (add Tn sales tax 7% = $695)
amazon uk: 605 (including VAT at 20% (yes 20 friggin percent!))

using todays fx rate, 1:$1.58, that makes the lens $957 over here!!!

good grief, isn't that just daylight robbery?

hence, i might still get items from USA thru my friend as and when he flies across.
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  01-31-2013, 03:09 AM
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What's funny is sometimes I've imported lenses from the UK, becuase it was in stock, the best deal, etc.
Bought my gear from www.microglobe.co.uk

That was a few years ago, however. Maybe 2007.
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