How best to take advantage of 0% sales tax in Oregon?
February 6, 2015 1:25 PM   Subscribe

I live in Seattle and travel to Oregon (Portland area) several times per year. What strategies can I use to best take advantage of the fact that the state has zero sales tax? Sure, I can just buy stuff when I'm there, but can I buy items online and ship them to an Oregon address? Or does that trigger sales tax in the originating state?

I suppose this would be easier if I had friends in Portland to ship to, but I'm more after a dead-drop delivery option.
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Shopping (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What strategies can I use to best take advantage of the fact that the state has zero sales tax?

There are no strategies you can use. Any purchases that you make in Oregon must be declared in Washington for use tax purposes and then are taxed at the Washington state tax rate (specifically your local tax rate).
posted by saeculorum at 1:32 PM on February 6, 2015 [11 favorites]

So, just so you know for legal reasons, as a Washington resident, you legally owe Washington sales tax on all items you purchase in Oregon (or anywhere else with 0% tax rate, or anything bought online from a store that is too small to be required to charge you the tax), assuming you are intending to bring them back and use them in Washington. There's a line for it on your tax forms.

That said though, online stores (that are big enough to have to charge sales tax) charge it based on the shipping destination, so yes, things shipped to Oregon will not be charged any sales tax.
posted by brainmouse at 1:34 PM on February 6, 2015

I don't think a dead-drop is super helpful if you're only there several times a year. If you end up reshipping to yourself or making trips just to pick your stuff up, you erase any savings. Instead, I'd add a day or two to your existing trips and plan larger shopping trips for major clothing purchases, gadget purchases, spendy holiday/celebration gifts, and pricey personal care items. Of course, you technically are supposed to report these purchases to your own state, but whether you do or not is largely up to you and it's quite unlikely you'd be caught. Only you know whether you're OK with that.
posted by quince at 1:35 PM on February 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Or does that trigger sales tax in the originating state?
It depends on the state. Some states source sales based on the origin of the sale; the majority of states source sales to the destination.

You will be liable for any use tax on these out-of-state purchases.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:51 PM on February 6, 2015

Now the liquor sales have been privatized in Washington State, a visit to Portland is a great opportunity to restock your bar. We do belong to a wine club where we buy a case per quarter, but we have a friend who lives in Portland near the tasting room who can stash the case at his house until we can come down.
posted by matildaben at 3:12 PM on February 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Apple products.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:04 PM on February 6, 2015

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