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Australia Tax: HST means B.C., Ontario residents exempt from Wash. sales tax

VANCOUVER - The imminent switch to the harmonized sales tax in British Columbia and Ontario will mean residents of those provinces won't have to pay sales tax on some goods purchased in Washington state.

The state government says B.C. and Ontario residents will be eligible for a tax exemption on goods purchased for use outside the state, excluding lodging, meals and other services, after they adopt the HST on July 1.

Washington allows retailers to wave the state's 6.5 per cent sales tax for residents of jurisdictions with sales taxes of three per cent or less.

When B.C. and Ontario blend their provincial sales taxes with the federal GST, the state will consider their sales taxes to be zero because the HST is considered a value-added tax.

Washington offers similar exemptions to residents of provinces that already have the HST, such as Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Retailers aren't required to apply the tax exemption, but the news release says most do if a customer has proof of where they live, such as a driver's licence.

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