Sales tax question: Buying a Mac in Canada
June 17, 2015 12:56 PM   Subscribe

I live in Seattle. If I buy a Mac in Canada, can I get the sales tax refunded? Also, does this even make sense with the exchange rate? Does Apple just raise their prices in Canada?

I recall doing this with some jewelry -- there was a shop at the border that would give you cash for the sales tax on your receipt (less a small fee for the service). But that was 15 years ago.
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Right now the online Apple store is listing the same macbook as USD$1299 and CAD$1549, and google tells me USD$1299 is worth CAD$ I guess it's a slight discount? But you'd have to be able to convert your USD to CAD for free.
posted by quaking fajita at 1:07 PM on June 17, 2015

Best answer: Sorry, I misunderstood the sales tax part of your question. Canada stopped offering GST rebates to tourists in 2007.
posted by quaking fajita at 1:12 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

BC HST (harmonized sales tax) is 12%, and that will be refunded in full, but there's a good chance you'll save nothing significant overall.

US MacBook Pro: $1299 USD
Canadian MacBook Pro $1549 CDN or $1265 USD assuming the best possible exchange rate

You might get lucky with a sale at Best Buy, for example. This MacBook is $1499 CDN until the end of the month ($1225 USD assuming the best exchange rate), but once you factor in gas and your real exchange rate, it's probably a wash.
posted by maudlin at 1:13 PM on June 17, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers! Wikipedia just wasn't forthcoming with the answer, but that link nailed it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:23 PM on June 17, 2015

You're 1000x ahead waiting for another best buy sale, at which time some models will be $200+ off.
posted by emptythought at 4:46 PM on June 17, 2015

You could also consider a visit to your southern neighbor. Oregon has no sales tax. In fact, there is a sales tax refund for certain purchases made by Oregonians in Washington State (the Apple store refunded the WA tax on an iPhone I bought there).
posted by montag2k at 10:47 AM on June 18, 2015

Response by poster: I'm actually visiting both Canada and Oregon soon. I was wondering if I could get zero sales tax and an exchange rate advantage. Looks like Oregon gets my business this time. :-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:01 AM on June 18, 2015

I'm laughing at myself. Amazon just started charging tax in my state. So, I had a purchase sent to my office, which is in another state. Receiving UPS or FedEx is fine at my building. But USPS is not because it goes to a central office and distributed throughout the company. You never know which carrier Amazon will use. Of course, it came by US Mail and I never received it even though tracking said it was delivered. Made calls, wasted time, yadda. In the end, Amazon sent it to my home. And a week later it the original package arrived at my office desk.

Not worth the hassle to save the small amount of tax. LOL
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 11:34 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm in Canada and once acquired a Mac on a deal in the U.S.

Border issues were a pain, but the real problem was not being able to activate AppleCare with the wrong serial number for the country I was in.
posted by zadcat at 11:20 AM on June 19, 2015

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