ALBANY — Depending on where you shop in New York, certain clothing will be tax free or tax “light,” beginning today. The state has repealed its 4 percent sales tax on clothing and footwear worth less than $110, but many counties have not repealed their sales taxes, creating competition among localities.
Ted Potrikus, vice president of the Retail Council of New York State, said he hoped all counties and cities eventually join the tax repeal, but added, “I think there’s going to be a period of adjustment for retailers and consumers alike, especially in those counties that are keeping their local portion of the sales tax. In a good part of the state, you’re not necessarily going to be shopping tax free, but tax ‘light,”‘ said Potrikus.
New York City has dropped its portion of the clothing and footwear sales tax, but some nearby counties have not. Nassau County retains a 4.5 percent tax; Suffolk County has repealed its local tax. Westchester will continue to levy its sales tax, and some cities there charge more than the 2.75 percent assessed by the county at large.
Including the county tax, the Westchester cities of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Yonkers will tax at a rate of 4.25 percent; the White Plains tax will be 3.75 percent. Rockland County will be tax free and Orange County remains tax light, at 3.25 percent.
Upstate counties are just as divided. Binghamton will join Broome County’s tax repeal, but Erie County and Buffalo, the major city there, will hold onto a 4 percent tax. Other counties not repealing the tax include Rensselaer, 4 percent; Warren, 3 percent, and Washington, 3 percent. In all, 20 counties have joined the state to give full tax relief on items costing less than $110.
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Joan Rivers planned to mark the occasion today by being the first customers to buy something tax-free at Macy’s on 34th Street. They were scheduled to be at the Herald Square store at 6:30 this morning.

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