Taxes begone!
May 14, 2008 7:19 AM   Subscribe

Can I avoid paying PA sales tax if I'm buying from and for an international location?

We're making a large purchase on equipment and would like to avoid paying sales tax on that purchase if possible.

We're based in the Turks and Caicos Islands (a 'tax-free' haven), and the company we're buying from is in Pennsylvania, the equipment would be delivered to us, on island.

So, is it possible? If so, who would I need to speak to, to allow that to happen?
The PA company hasn't dealt with international orders before, and so the people I've talked to there aren't clued in with what's possible.
If it's on them to act, then I'd at least like to get a little list together for them to make it a simple process.
posted by Static Vagabond to Work & Money (2 answers total)
Best answer: I used to deal with tax issues in PA (not that it matters... this is pretty much the same throughout the U.S. as far as I know). It's not complicated at all: Purchases shipped to out-of state addresses (international or not) are not subject to PA sales tax.

Your vendor should simply not collect sales tax on this sale. Neither you nor they need to pay the Dept. of Revenue any tax. There's nothing you need to do: no forms to fill out, no permissions to acquire, nothing. If the company, for some reason, has trouble understanding this, you should insist they call PA DOR and figure it out. If they bill you for the sales tax, don't pay it.
posted by blue mustard at 8:27 AM on May 14, 2008

Agreed, as I understand US sales taxes, anyway. Sales tax is levied based upon where the buyer lives (or does business). It is hard to understand because while it is the buyers' responsibility to pay, it is almost always the sellers' responsibility to collect.

Just as an example, I live in Illinois. If I go to Indiana to buy groceries (where they are taxed at a lower rate), I technically owe Illinois their sales tax.

In the Chicago area, as another example, people would often go out of the city to buy cars, because the sales tax was lower, and the buyers' chances of getting caught were slim to none. The car dealers in Chicago hated this for obvious reasons. So somebody passed a law or agreement that said that car dealers need to collect taxes for the municipality where the buyer lives.
posted by gjc at 9:13 AM on May 14, 2008

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