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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be making some purchases in Washington state at Costco and Wal-Mart. How do I ensure I won't pay Washington state taxes?

I have heard all I need is to show three pieces of ID, but I have also heard the three pieces of ID do not count if you are from Canada, but only if you are from another US state.

Can you please let me know how exactly this works?
 

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To my knowledge, there is no state tax exemption for Canadians.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To my knowledge, there is no state tax exemption for Canadians.
I know it can be done somehow, because I am purchasing a Travel Trailer and Poulsbo RV in Washington state has two salesman that specialize in Canadian sales. They have confirmed I would pay zero Washington state sales tax, but would of course pay PST / GST at the border.

I believe the Registrar of Imported Vehicles mentions something about this, as it relates to the sale and importation of motorcycles from Washington to BC.

Someone correct me please if I am wrong as I also thought when you buy a new or used motorcycle from Washington state you are Washington tax exempt!

Registrar of Imported Vehicles
http://www.riv.ca/

Poulsbo RV
http://www.poulsborv.com/PRVSearch/Canadian-RV-Dealer.aspx
 

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If they specialise in sales to Canadians shouldn't they be able to tell you how to do it?
 

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It's amazing what Google can tell you in about .5 seconds if you make the effort. Search Google for "Washington sales tax exempt" and voila.

http://dor.wa.gov/content/home/qa/tax_QA_RST.aspx#Oregon

There is no exemption for BC residents, there is an exemption for certain states, provinces, and territories but not BC. SOL buddy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If they specialise in sales to Canadians shouldn't they be able to tell you how to do it?
Well you'd think wouldn't you!

But, he said he did not know how it all actually works, only that I didn't have to pay Washington state taxes with the sale of a travel trailer from them.

He also did not know anything about how to go about it with motorcycles or Costco / Wal-Mart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
It's amazing what Google can tell you in about .5 seconds if you make the effort. Search Google for "Washington sales tax exempt" and voila.

http://dor.wa.gov/content/home/qa/tax_QA_RST.aspx#Oregon

There is no exemption for BC residents, there is an exemption for certain states, provinces, and territories but not BC. SOL buddy.
Yes I saw the Dept of Revenue Washington State website (very very briefly) before I started, and yet here we have two RV salesman, both of whom have assured me that not only are 30% of their customers from BC, but that I will pay no Washington state tax!
 

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Maybe they're just reducing the price by the amount of sales tax you would pay, and you are actually paying tax anyway?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I finally got the answers and it's kind'a oddball and kind'a cool!

A guy at the Washington State Dept of Revenue set it all down for me, so now I'll set it all down for you guys, just 'cause I'm so nice and hate to see you guys get in shit with the big bad Feds.

In Washington state, if you have a trip permit, and you are buying a vehicle, you pay no state taxes as the purchase is perceived to have taken place once you register the vehicle on your home soil.

However, if you buy items that do not get licensed and registered on your home soil, then British Columbians must pay Washington taxes. Not only that but British Columbians must then pay GST and PST at the border when returning home (outside of the 2 day and 7 day exemptions but that's another story kids).

But, if you are an Albertan (or can prove you are hee-hee) and you make a non-vehicle purchase in Washington, it then becomes up to the vendor to decide to charge you Washington tax or not.

Now things get even weirder!

In particular for lower cost items, the vendor may not be very likely to want to exempt Albertans from Washington tax, because not only are cash register systems not set up for it, but the vendor must provide a paperwork bundle to the state of Washington, plus the vendor takes on the responsibility of the tax burden, if it turns out the buyer was not in fact from a state or province with a zero tax agreement.

So if you are pretending to be an Albertan, and are in fact from BC, the vendor would take the tax hit if your secret is discovered after the fact after the sale.

Now it gets a bit oddball.

Let's assume you're from BC, and you buy something that does not get registered on your home soil, and thus you do not have a trip permit or the equivalent. Let's also assume you buy this from a private individual within the state of Washington, so you pay no taxes at the time of sale, but you do get a receipt indicating the actual purchase of the item took place within the state of Washington.

In this case there will be Washington tax due, and in fact the % will vary somewhat from county to county. Mind you, in this scenario the tax collector would need an informant to able to catch you, but you certainly could get fowled up at the border, if the Canadian Feds decided to inform their American brothers of your tax evasion.

The receipt with the transaction showing that it took place in the state of Washington would be the kicker here. If you were want to falsely the receipt for tax evasion purposes (not that I would ever condone such a thing) the receipt in question would need to say that the transaction took place in a state with no tax, such as Oregon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Here are some more basic facts I have discovered about purchasing stuff in the US. Have fun!

1) In BC we have to pay 13% tax on new vehicles (we all know this but I put it here to illustrate).
2) The MSRP of motorcycles in Canada (and motorcycle accessories) are higher, and have lower discounts from MSRP.
3) As things stand at the present time, a number of items in Canada are priced numerically (at close to) double the US number, by that I mean if something sells for $1,000 US dollars, it often sells for upwards of $2,000 Canadian dollars, all in out the door including taxes.
4) The exchange rate is only a small part of the pricing differential between the US and Canada. Lower volumes, higher profit margin per unit, more industry regulation, higher shipping costs, more duties and more fees play a role as well.
5) The Canadian dollar was very much weaker a few years ago exacerbating present pricing differences.
6) As things stand now, pricing in the US on many items is considerably cheaper than the equivalent items in Canada, but it was the exact opposite some few years ago, and Americans were coming up to Canada to buy cars (for example).
7) Here are two examples of the present pricing differential between the US and Canada as per point 3 above:
i) I can buy a Whirlpool Duet Sport washer dryer in Washington state from Costco for $830 US, but the exact same pair at Trail Appliance's "Incredible Anniversary Sale" is $1,800 Cdn.
ii) I am buying a travel trailer for summer vacations and the exact same unit brand new is $3,000 to $5,000 Canadian less in Washington state even after exchange rate and taxes etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I end this public service announcement about your nickel and how to save it. See you all on road next year and don't forget to wave to the slow guy!
 

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I will be making some purchases in Washington state at Costco and Wal-Mart. How do I ensure I won't pay Washington state taxes?

I have heard all I need is to show three pieces of ID, but I have also heard the three pieces of ID do not count if you are from Canada, but only if you are from another US state.

Can you please let me know how exactly this works?
David Ingram the tax man will be more than happy to answer this. He specializes in tax issues on both sides of the border including immigration taxes.
He' s a fan of motorcycles and just let him know that you're emailing from BCSportbikes.com in your subject line.
I'll let him know that you may have a question or two for him ahead of time.
He buys unique autos across the line all the time.

His email is: [email protected]
All the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
mystik;886257,

Is this a solicitation for Mr. Ingram's commercial services? Or is Mr. Ingram going to provide this advice free of charge? Why don't you ask him yourself on the behalf of all interested parties, and post his views here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
mystik;886257,

Is this a solicitation for Mr. Ingram's commercial services? Or is Mr. Ingram going to provide this advice free of charge? How about asking him yourself on the behalf of all interested parties, and post his views here?
 

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Here are some more basic facts I have discovered about purchasing stuff in the US. Have fun!

1) In BC we have to pay 13% tax on new vehicles (we all know this but I put it here to illustrate).
2) The MSRP of motorcycles in Canada (and motorcycle accessories) are higher, and have lower discounts from MSRP.
3) As things stand at the present time, a number of items in Canada are priced numerically (at close to) double the US number, by that I mean if something sells for $1,000 US dollars, it often sells for upwards of $2,000 Canadian dollars, all in out the door including taxes.
4) The exchange rate is only a small part of the pricing differential between the US and Canada. Lower volumes, higher profit margin per unit, more industry regulation, higher shipping costs, more duties and more fees play a role as well.
5) The Canadian dollar was very much weaker a few years ago exacerbating present pricing differences.
6) As things stand now, pricing in the US on many items is considerably cheaper than the equivalent items in Canada, but it was the exact opposite some few years ago, and Americans were coming up to Canada to buy cars (for example).
7) Here are two examples of the present pricing differential between the US and Canada as per point 3 above:
i) I can buy a Whirlpool Duet Sport washer dryer in Washington state from Costco for $830 US, but the exact same pair at Trail Appliance's "Incredible Anniversary Sale" is $1,800 Cdn.
ii) I am buying a travel trailer for summer vacations and the exact same unit brand new is $3,000 to $5,000 Canadian less in Washington state even after exchange rate and taxes etc.
Make sure you check out whether warranty is valid. Car manufactuters are voiding new car warranties for cars purchased in the US and imported into Canada.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good point although I have heard going bask to the US, if need be most often means the warranty will be honoured!
 

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mystik;886257,

Is this a solicitation for Mr. Ingram's commercial services? Or is Mr. Ingram going to provide this advice free of charge? How about asking him yourself on the behalf of all interested parties, and post his views here?
I just read this email tonight. I'm not always surfing the net. To answer your questions:

This is not a solicitation for David's services and nor was it my intent. I just thought if anyone would know the answer to your question in point blank form, it would be him. He gets these type of questions from all over the world.

As a personal favor, I told him that you may be emailing him with your original question regarding taxes and the legalities about bringing stuff across the border and he seemed fine with it. He already receives over 500 emails a day and I don't think that he's desparate for business that he would have to advertise on what would be a 'non-traditional' site for him.

If he has the time, I'm sure he'll have an answer for you. It sounds like a simple enough question and I thought it to be a good idea for you to give him an email. What do you have to lose? Because I didn't have the necessary details on what you buying or receiving and the amount, etc. etc. I wasn't about to email him with a 'nebulous' question.

When you asked for advice about this 'transaction' in the states, I simply offered you some. Nothing more nothing less. I try and keep all avenues open and try not to make a meal out of a snack.

All the best in whatever endeavors you embark upon.
mystik
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That's very kind of you. See my post prior that starts with: "I finally got the answers and it's kind'a oddball and kind'a cool!"
 

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That's very kind of you. See my post prior that starts with: "I finally got the answers and it's kind'a oddball and kind'a cool!"
Interesting info. I wonder if it makes any difference if you have a place, let's say in 'birch bay' and stay there for a few weeks or so.
Anyway, thanks for posting some interesting details. I know for one thing, if I'm going to buy a 'honda' pressure washer, it will be in Bellingham and not on this side of the fence. The price difference is like $298 USD vs $699 CAN for the same unit! eff that.
 
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