Guide To Tax Refund In The United States

VAT in Europe is tax imposed on products and in Australia they’re called GST. When you go to the United States you have to pay sales tax if you’re buying Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Hermes or Dior Bags. This post is about how to claim sales tax back in the United States when you’re a tourist just like when you go shopping in Europe.

Tax refund guide per country

Unfortunately, there is no way to refund the sales tax in most of the States in the US. However, there are some exceptions:

  • There are States with no sales tax: so when you go shopping in these States, you don’t need sales tax.
  • There are two States where you actually can apply for tax refund: this only applies for tourist.

But let’s start with the basics. What is sales tax? And how much is the sales tax?

What is Sales Tax?

Sales tax in the United States is a consumption tax on goods and services. Every product you purchase must be included with Sales Tax. Sometimes the price tag in the shop doesn’t include this, so be aware that the ultimate price might be higher. Local citizens, tourists and other foreigners are all required to pay this tax. The retailers collect the sales taxes at the moment of transaction. So when you go to the cashier and pay, the retailer will add the sales tax on the top of the product price.

tax-refund-us

How much is the sales tax?

Each country in Europe has their own VAT. It is the same in the United States, each State has their own rate of sales tax. The rate varies and can go up or down every year.

Even inside the States, the sales tax can be different in every city. Capital cities and larger cities that attract a lot of visitors or tourists can have higher sales taxes.

States with no sales tax

A few states in the US do not impose sales taxes, because they want to encourage people to shop. The states that do not have sales taxes are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. If you’re travelling in the US and you’re lucky enough to visit these States, make sure you shop until you drop.

States with tax refund

There are two states that have a tax refund program for tourists, they’re Louisana and Texas. You can claim the sales tax back after shopping. There are rules of course and processes that you need to go follow. But it works just like claiming VAT back in Europe. Here is how:

How to claim tax refund in Louisana?

1. Search for the sign ‘Louisiana Tax Free Shopping’: there are now over 1500 stores that have this sign. The stores include Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Gucci, Coach and many more high fashion product sellers.

2. Show your passport: When you make the purchase, you need to show your foreign passport to verify you’re eligible for tax refund.

3. You pay with sales tax: When you buy, you’re going to pay the purchase price, which include the sales tax. The sales tax can be refunded later on.

4. Collect the voucher, sales receipt of invoice: It’s important that you let the SA know you’re a tourist, so that she can give you all the necessary papers.

5. The Refund Center: To claim the sales tax back, go to the nearest ‘Refund Center’. The centers are located in different places:

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Main Lobby – Terminal C
Opening time: Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Tel: (504) 467-0723
New Orleans Refund Center
The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk – Level B
Opening time: Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am- 6:00 pm
Tel: (504) 568-3605
Macy’s Refund Center – Lakeside Shopping Center
3301 Veterans Blvd.
3rd Floor -Executive Offices
Metairie, LA 70002
Opening time: Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tel: (504) 484-4665
Macy’s Refund Center – Mall of Louisiana
6401 Bluebonnet Blvd.
2nd Floor -Kid’s Department
Baton Rouge, LA 70836
Opening time: Monday – Sunday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tel: (225) 757 -7394
Dillard’s Refund Center – Acadiana Mall
5725 Johnston Road
Lafayette, LA 70503
Opening time: Monday- Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
Tel: (337) 989-8139
Louisiana Boardwalk
540 Boardwalk Blvd., Bossier City, LA 71111
Opening time: Monday-Saturday: 10am – 9pm
Sundays: 11am – 7pm
Tel: (318) 752-1455


6. Show your papers
: When you’re at the Refund Center, present all your vouchers and receipts. You also need to show your passport and international travel ticket.

7. The payment: The Refund Center will process your tax-refund and they can give you the money back in two ways, depending on your total amount.

  • If the total amount of the refund is $500 USD or below, you get your refund in cash.
  • If the total amount of the refund exceeds $500 USD, it will be issued in checks.
  • There is also a third option; you can also obtain the refund by mail.

    How to claim tax refund in Texas?

    The requirements for claiming tax back in Texas:
    You need have spent at minimum $12 USD in sales tax per store location. The $12 USD can be grouped from multiple receipts. The goods must be bought within 30 days of departure.

    1. Shop at Texas’s tax-free stores: there are 6000+ stores participating the tax-free program. The stores include designer brands like Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Celine, Chanel, Coach, Louis Vuitton and more. If you’re unsure whether the store is a part of the program, ask the Sales Assistance for guidance.

    2. When you’re at the cashier: show your passport to verify that you’re eligible for tax-refund.

    3. The purchase will be included with sales tax: which can be claimed back later.

    4. Keep the original receipt: the receipt is very important. Ask the staff whether all documents are complete for tax refund (just in case).

    5. Go to one of the Refund Service Desk: it’s time to claim your tax back. Here is a list where the Refund Counter is located:

    Galleria Dallas
    Level 3 Near Old Navy
    13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas Texas – I-635 at Dallas North Tollway
    Opening time: Monday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
    Sunday, 12:00pm – 6:00pm
    Highland Park Village- Dallas
    Located between Chanel and Starbucks
    100 Highland Park Village, Suite 300, Dallas, Texas 75205
    Opening time: Wednesday – Sunday, 12:00pm – 6:00pm
    North Park Center
    Between Salvatore Ferragamo and Tory Sport
    8687 North Central Expressway, Suite 1416, Dallas, Texas 75225
    Opening time: Monday – Saturday, 10:00am – 9:00pm
    Sunday, 12:00pm – 6:00pm
    Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
    Terminal D
    Outside Security Near American Airlines Check-In
    Opening time: Monday – Friday, 6:00am – 9:00pm
    Saturday & Sunday, 8:00am – 8:00pm
    The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso
    Inside Food Court
    7051 S Desert Blvd, Canutillo, Texas 79835
    Opening time: Monday – Saturday, 11:00am -9:00pm
    Sunday, 10:00am – 7:00pm
    Grand Prairie Premium Outlets
    Near Customer Service
    2950 W. Interstate 20, Grand Prairie, Texas 75052
    Opening time: Monday -Saturday, 10:00am – 9:00pm
    Sunday, 11:00am – 6:00pm
    Grapevine Mills
    Neighborhood 1 near Ross
    3000 Grapevine Mills, Grapevine, Texas 76051
    Opening time: Monday- Saturday, 10:00am – 9:00pm
    Sunday, 11:00am – 7:00pm
    Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)*
    Terminal D
    Outside Security by Qatar Airways Ticketing Booth
    Opening time: Daily, 8:00am -10:00pm

    Terminal E*:
    Outside Security by United Airlines Check-In
    Opening time: Daily, 9:00am – 8:00pm

    Houston Premium Outlets
    Inside Food Court
    29300 Hempstead Road, Cypress, TX 77433
    Opening time: Monday – Saturday, 10:00am – 9:00pm
    Sunday, 11:00am – 7:00pm
    River Oaks District- Houston
    iPic Theater, 1st Floor
    4444 Westheimer Rd, Suite C145-A Houston, Texas 77027
    Opening time: Monday – Saturday, 10:00am – 7:00pm
    Sunday, 10:00am – 6:00pm
    The Galleria-Houston
    Macy’s level 1
    5135 West Alabama, Houston, Texas 77056
    Opening time: Monday – Thursday, 11:00am – 9:00pm
    Friday – Saturday 10:00am – 9:00pm
    Sunday, 11:00am – 7:00pm
    The Galleria-Houston
    Luxury Row: Rink Level Near Post Office
    5015 Westheimer Ave Suite 1000-A, Houston, Texas 77056
    Opening time: Monday – Saturday, 10:00am – 9:00pm
    Sunday, 11:00am – 7:00pm
    La Plaza Mall
    Macy’s Level 2
    2200 South Tenth St McAllen, TX 78501
    Opening time: Monday – Wednesday, 10:00am – 9:00pm
    Thursday – Saturday, 10:00am – 10:00pm
    Sunday, 11:00am – 7:00pm
    Tanger Outlets in San Marcos
    Near Reebok
    4015 I-35 South,Suite 331A ,San Marcos, Texas 78666
    Opening time:
    Monday – Saturday, 9:00am – 9:00pm
    Sunday, 10:00am – 7:00pm

    6. The payment options: you can get your tax back in two ways:

    • In cash
    • In check
    • Via Paypal

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