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I'm from the UK where tax is included in most advertised prices. I gather things are very different in the USA.

I'm visiting New York City next week, and am looking at the cost of a MetroCard and prices of admission to certain attractions (9/11 museum, Statue of Liberty ferry, Natural History Museum, etc)

For example, a MetroCard is advertised as $31 for an unlimited 7 day ticket. Do I need to add 8.875% sales tax on top? So it will cost $33.75 in total? Is it the same for tickets for attractions?

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    The MetroCard price is as advertised. You'll pay exactly $31. I have no idea about tourist admission. The main places you'll see tax added are hotels, restaurants, and general shopping. – Michael Hampton May 20 '16 at 11:45
  • I'm pretty sure there is no tax on MTA fares. The revenues are subsidised by the state; it wouldn't make a lot of sense for part of the fare revenue to be paid back to the state as tax. There is however a $1 surcharge for each new metrocard, above the amount you pay for the fare. If you refill a card, you don't pay the $1, of course. – phoog May 20 '16 at 16:10
  • I can confirm the price advertised on the MTA website for MetroCards is what you pay in total. In my case it was $31 for 7 days + $1 new card fee, no extra tax added like when paying in a restaurant or grocery store. I purchased a CityPass in the end, but buying a ticket for each attraction seemed to be inclusive of tax based on the suggestion of mock-buying one online. – james246 May 31 '16 at 14:32
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It could vary based on the attractions policy, there is no set standard for the advertised price. One way to confirm, is on the site for the particular attraction, act like you're going to buy the ticket online and go all the way to the final stage of checkout. It will display the total, and if tax is going to be added you will see it there. I did this for the 9/11 museum, and the advertised price of 24$ is inclusive of tax. It was not, however inclusive of the 2$ service charge, so also watch for those.

I would also like to recommend you take a look at the NYC City Pass. All three of the sites you mentioned are included, and it also includes the Empire State Building, the Met, and the Top of the Rock as well as alternatives in case something is closed. They advertise that you save 40% versus buying the tickets individually, and while I'm not sure on the number it did save us a good deal when we went. The price for that does include tax already at $116 per adult.

  • Thanks, I've quickly gone as far as I can through checkout and the prices seem to be inclusive of tax. CityPass looks like a good deal if you're visiting everything included - not sure if we will do that, but definitely worth considering. – james246 May 20 '16 at 14:22
  • +1 for the NYC Pass. Tremendous value for money if you're planning on doing a few sites. – davidb May 20 '16 at 15:23
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    One quick note about the NYC City Pass: the savings calculation not only assumes you visit all the attractions, it assumes you pay $25 to visit the Met. The Met museum is technically free (most people argue that there's a law requiring it to be free, while the Met claims that law doesn't apply anymore), with a suggested donation of $25 for adults, which really adds up with a larger group. While you are welcome to pay the full $25 to support the museum, you are also welcome to pay nothing or a smaller amount. You can take this into account when figuring out the value for money of the pass. – Zach Lipton May 20 '16 at 16:10
  • @ZachLipton do you have any recent knowledge of people paying nothing? I know of only one instance, in which the person argued fiercely to be able to get in without paying, in the face of an offer to grant him admission for ten cents. He refused to pay on principle but was told that he must donate something to be admitted. In the end, he was successful, but not after significant time spent arguing. This was probably 30 years ago though, so the situation may have changed. – phoog May 20 '16 at 16:16
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    @phoog Some googling now indicates you have to pay at least a penny. There's been a lawsuit against the Met for the past several years that was recently settled (with issues) arguing that they misled visitors into thinking the full $25 was required. Under the settlement, signs will say “The amount you pay is up to you," which also implies that you have to pay at least something. – Zach Lipton May 20 '16 at 16:21

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