BC shoppers do not qualify for sales-tax exemption, state says

The Washington State Department of Revenue has issued a reminder to retailers that shoppers from British Columbia do not qualify for the state’s non-resident sales tax exemption.

State officials said several retailers have contacted them saying that residents from the Canadian province were claiming they qualified to purchase items without paying sales tax.

According to the department, while the exemption is available to residents of any state or province with a sales tax rate less than 3 percent, it does not apply to jurisdictions with either the Harmonized Sales Tax now in effect in British Columbia, or the 7 percent provincial sales tax that replaces it on April 1, 2013.

Residents of states such as Alaska, Oregon and Montana and certain provinces, including Alberta, do qualify because they have no sales tax.

The Department advises retailers to direct British Columbia residents to http://dor.wa.gov/content/findtaxesandrates/retailsalestax/nonresidents/default.aspx for an explanation of the nonresident exemption.

Retailers that provide the exemption are liable for any uncollected sales tax if audited.

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