Now, every week is tax-free shopping week in New York City. In the past, New Yorkers had to wait for special tax-free shopping weeks twice a year to avoid paying city or state sales tax on clothing and footwear items under $110.
Then, in September of 2005, New York City permanently eliminated the city sales tax of 4.5% on clothing and footwear purchases under $110. Later, the state of New York followed suit and repealed its portion of the sales tax (4%) on these items.
The result is that the five boroughs of New York City are the only counties in the state of New York that charge no sales tax on these purchases.
Note: A September 2010 amendment to the New York State sales tax exemption dictates that clothing and footwear purchases under $55 (per item or pair) will be exempt from sales tax from April 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012. On and after April 1, 2012, the original less-than-$110-per-item clothing and footwear exemption will be restored.
New York City and New York State Sales Tax Rates
The New York City sales tax rate is 4.5%. The New York State sales and use tax is 4% and the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) surcharge is 0.375%. That makes the total sales and use tax 8.875% for qualified purchases in New York City.
What items under $110 are exempt from sales tax? All clothing and footwear, clothing material (fabric, thread, buttons, etc.), hats and neckwear (ties and scarves), formalwear (purchased), and diapers (including disposable diapers).
What items are not exempt from sales tax? Jewelry and watches, handbags, umbrellas, rented formalwear, sports equipment (pads, helmets, etc.), pet or doll clothes.
NYC Tax Free Shopping Tips
Don’t forget to check out the following New York stores for bargains under $110:
Macy's Herald Square: The world's largest department store, Macy’s has ten floors and half a million items for sale. You’re sure to find something that looks fabulous on you.
Bloomingdale's: Bloomie’s is another shopping hot spot. Designer clothes, a fully-stocked shoe salon. There’s always a sale going on somewhere.
Lord & Taylor: This famous department store has seasonal sales that can save you a bundle.
Century 21: With deep discounts of 25% to 75%, you can find major steals on designer names like Armani.
Loehmann's: Loehmann’s always has bargains on designer apparel. New York magazine calls it ‘the mecca of off-price shopping.