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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sales tax exemption oddities - California's exemption for some foreign purchases

Since 1990, California has allowed Californians traveling abroad to bring back up to $800 ($400 prior to 2008) of goods without having to pay use tax on them. I think that's odd because it is so high (and can be used every 30 days), unfair to people having to pay use tax on the same goods purchased in the US or not hand carried back, and unnecessary due to easy ways to pay use tax today. The exemption ties to a federal duty exemption amount although there are exceptions to the federal duty that California does not follow, such as bringing back a $10,000 piece of fine art (no duty, but California would want use tax on $9,200 of it).

I've got more on this exemption (R&T Section 6405) in a post on SalesTaxSupport.com - here.  Please take a look. I'm interested in hearing other views and whether other states have a similar exemption (I have not found any, but perhaps it is too obscure to easily find).

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