News / Article

Tax-free shopping available to international visitors

Source: - Nov 28, 2011

Baton Rouge will open its first tax-free shopping refund center for international shoppers today at Macy's in the Mall of Louisiana.

At the refund center, paperwork for eligible shoppers will be processed in order to allow the shoppers to receive a refund of their sales taxes under the program.

In order to be considered an eligible shopper, international visitors must "be traveling on a foreign passport with a current U.S. tourist visa and be staying in the country for less than 90 days," according to a news release.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held today at 10 a.m. at Macy's in corroboration with the Mall of Louisiana, the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program for International Visitors, which is sponsoring and hosting the center, was established in 1989 and has aided more than 600,000 international shoppers, who have spent more than $500 million in Louisiana since the program's existence, the release said.

Denise Thevenot, executive director of Louisiana Tax Free Shopping, said discussion about opening the Baton Rouge diversion has been under way since the opening of the center in the Macy's at Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie in 2009.

Thevenot said Louisana was the first state in the U.S. to begin a state-wide program, and Texas followed in 2001 with a similar program.

"The program gives visitors an extra incentive to come to the state, and through offering the tax refund, we can promote shopping," she said.

The program benefits the state through generating more revenue while the international visitors enjoy shopping perks, she said.

"Retail shopping is one of the top activities for international visitors coming to Louisiana," Thevenot said in the release. "We're excited to partner with Macy's once again, giving visitors another convenient way to enjoy the tax-free shopping program."

While the center at Macy's is the first in Baton Rouge, additional centers are located in Metairie, New Orleans, Kenner, Lafayette and Shreveport.

The Baton Rouge refund center is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

Category: General Business