BLAINE, WASHINGTON (NEWS1130) – Tax free shopping is like music to our ears. Come July 1st, it will be a reality for British Columbians visiting Washington State.

The state has always provided tax free shopping for visitors from provinces with no or low provincial sales taxes. Now that benefit will be extended to us thanks to the HST, which is not considered a sales tax, but a value-added tax.

Bruce Cran of the Consumers’ Association of Canada says there’s no doubt people will head down to take advantage of the savings. “I suppose B.C. retailers are going to have to put their heads together to try to counter this.”

We were in Blaine this morning speaking with hopeful shoppers. One Canadian told us he prefers cross border shopping.  “When I fill up in Langley it’s $85, and when I come down here, I can get milk, eggs, cheese and my gas for less than $80.”

The savings will apply only to goods British Columbians intend to bring back with them. Meal and hotel bills will not be eligible for the exemption. To get the tax break, a shopper has to show proof of B.C. residency.

Washington State has a basic sales tax of 6.5 per cent, but individual counties can add another three per cent.