New Yorkers Get Footwear Tax Break

New Yorkers will have a little more incentive to shop for shoes this spring.

Starting April 1, New York state will restore the sales-tax exemption for footwear and clothing purchases under $110.

Both the 4 percent state sales tax and a 0.375 percent Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District tax will be eliminated. In New York City, purchases under $110 had already been exempt from the city’s 4.5 percent sales tax.

Retailers in New York City have mixed reactions to the tax break.

“It’s always a plus not to have a tax,” said Abe Rogowsky, owner of Shoe Parlor, noting this would likely encourage people from New Jersey visiting or working in the city to buy here rather than at home where there’s no sales tax on apparel or footwear in any price range.

Not all retailers see a benefit in eliminating the tax. According to Elliot Aizer, president of Orva, he’s found customers don’t hesitate buying even if they’re taxed on items under $110.

The tax, he said, even at the 8.875 rate, can be nominal. “[Customers] buying Merrell or something at $55 to $110, don’t care about the $2 or $3 in taxes,” said Aizer. “A $120 Dansko is when it matters.” At prices over $110, he noted, customers can find shoes tax-free online.

According to Aizer, sales could be impacted by the elimination of taxes for items over the $110 since they add up to more significant amounts.

The full tax exemption makes a comeback after more than a year, when it was amended to help close a state budget gap. From October 2010 to March 2011, the state sales tax and commuter surcharge had been reinstated.

New York City currently exempts clothing and footwear purchases under $110 from local sales tax and will continue to do so beyond April 1.

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