Where can I get a tax refund for items purchase inside the U.S. before I return to my country?
Foreign visitors to the United States frequently confuse the California state sales tax with the value-added tax (VAT). The state sales tax is a small tax on purchases or services, calculated at the time of purchase, which individual states assess and which the U.S. federal government neither determines nor receives. The VAT, on the other hand, is a national tax commonly applied in foreign countries that is included in the actual sales price rather than at the time of purchase. The United States does not have a VAT and the federal government cannot refund state sales taxes.
State taxes are generally not charged to diplomats or employees of some international organizations who have been issued a tax-exemption card. This card must be presented at the time of purchase in order for sales taxes to be waived.
For additional information, please visit the U.S. Customs website.