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I got a bill for an expensive item sold to me in upstate New York near Syracuse. The sales tax was 8.5%.

I read a sales tax guide by New York City Department of Finance that seems to say that the sales tax in New York state is 4% and the tax in New York City is an additional 4.5%. I interpret this as meaning that I should be paying the additional 4.5% only on items purchased in New York City. Did I interpret this wrong? Is the sales tax on general goods 8.5% no matter where they are purchased in New York?

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    Did you buy this in person in Syracuse? Did you have it shipped someplace? – mhoran_psprep Jan 30 '19 at 11:06
  • Every county in NY has its own sales tax rate. Mine is 4%, for an 8% combined rate. Syracuse's is 8%, but it's possible you're buying in a different nearby county, or that there's a local municipality rate as well. – ceejayoz Jan 30 '19 at 18:22
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While NY City does have a sales tax above the NY State base rate it isn't the only jurisdiction with a higher rate.

Sales tax rates

The combined sales and use tax rate equals the state rate (currently 4%) plus any local tax rate imposed by a city, county, or school district. An additional sales tax rate of 0.375% applies to taxable sales made within the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD). The combined rates vary in each county and in cities that impose sales tax.

Local taxing jurisdictions

New York's retail sales tax is a destination tax. The point of delivery or the point at which possession is transferred by the seller to the purchaser determines the rate of tax to be collected. Sales delivered outside New York State are exempt from tax.

The state has a tool to look up the tax by address becasue it doesn't follow zip code boundaries. It also have a PDF showing the various rates.

Here are some example rates across the state:

  • Allegany 8½
  • Erie 8¾
  • Onondaga 8%
  • Ontario 7½
  • Orange 8⅛
  • Rockland 8⅜
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  • I think the answer the OP is asking for is the second paragraph of the first quote. I think you should stress that front and center. – user71659 Jan 30 '19 at 16:38

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