The combined State and Local Sales Tax rate in Buffalo and surrounding area is approximately 8.0% – 8.75% so immediate savings as compared to Ontario HST is minimum 4.25%. Also there are no Eco Taxes in NY, this means there are significant savings on electronics (up to $26.25 – see below) and other goods such as paint ($4.03), tires ($5.25), chemicals, washer detergents etc.
Currently, there is an exemption from New York State sales and use taxes (4%) on clothing, footwear, and items used to make or repair exempt clothing, costing less than $110.00 per item or pair. Food purchased at the grocery store is not taxed but items such as toothpaste, toilet paper etc. are.
Some advance planning of your shopping trip can save you a lot. Using the Buffalo Zip Code 14207 you can check out the weekly flyers for Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart and Sears. Sears will automatically recognize your IP Address and ask if you are shipping to Canada, they offer a flat-rate of $20.00 on orders over $75.00. You will however be charged duty and HST if you go this option so I always do a store pickup. If you frequently cross the border you can also sign up for weekly email specials. Many will also let you order online and pickup at the local Buffalo store as well. Example this week Lowe’s Genesis S330 BBQ – Buffalo $969.00 ($1,046 inc tax), Newmarket $1,098.00 ($1,240.74 inc tax)
If you are using a Store Credit Card you should make sure it’s accepted in both countries; Home Depot, Sears, Kohls and Banana Republic work in both countries. Lowe’s is country specific. Also be aware that some stores now give you the option of paying in Canadian Dollars at checkout, this is not a straight dollar to dollar conversion and the Card Company will charge you a service fee. On a $90.00 purchase I was charged $4.81 “international service fee” on checkout however there was no fee charged by Visa. Using the daily rate that day Visa would have charged me about $1.00 less. Also if you have Points Rewards Programs they may not be recognized (Best Buy) in the U.S. I always recommend signing up for U.S. Rewards Programs anyways.
Stewardship Ontario – Electronic Fees http://www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca/your-role/steward-remitter/reporting-fees