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Hidden tax rates in ‘no sales tax’ states

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Only five states in the U.S. don’t impose a sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. An item that’s priced at $1.99 in these states is exactly that — no fumbling around for extra sales tax money. Your $2 typically gets you a penny back in change.

But just because there’s no official sales tax rate in these states doesn’t mean some won’t find a way to tax you somehow. With the exception of Oregon and Montana — for now — these “no sales tax” states go under the radar with other kinds of sales taxes.


While Alaska does not charge a sales tax, municipalities are allowed to levy a general sales tax rate; at last count, 62 municipalities in the state take advantage of this and charge anywhere from a 1 percent to 7 percent sales tax. The state also charges a vehicle rental tax (10 percent for passenger vehicles and 3 percent on RVs). If you cruise Alaska’s waters — and happen to stay on the ship overnight — you will pay a $46 excise tax per voyage. There are also local taxes in Alaska for raw fish, hotel and motel stays, liquor, tobacco, gaming, tires and fuel.


Delaware doesn’t tax consumers, but does hit businesses that sell goods and services with a tax on gross receipts (with no deductions for expenses). These tax rates can range from roughly 0.1 percent to 2.1 percent, depending on the type of business. And more likely than not, these taxes indirectly impact the prices of these goods and services to consumers.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire collects a “meals and rentals” tax — a 9 percent levy for restaurant meals and for staying overnight in a hotel, motel, inn or bed and breakfast. If you rent a car, you’ll also get slapped with a 9 percent tax rate on your rental cost.