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Enjoy tax breaks in NY

Enjoy tax breaks in NY

Humans only need apply for a retail tax break in New York at the end of this month. From 31 August to 6 September, clothing and footwear will escape the normal sales tax of 8.625 per cent. The bonus has a couple of conditions; it applies only to items priced at $110 (£65) or less, and is valid only for clothes and shoes for people - the rules specify that attire for pets or dolls does not qualify. For more information, contact NYC and Company(020-7202 6367;

There is no limit to the number of items you can buy, providing each is priced at under $110, but note that Customs officials in the UK takes a keen interest in travellers returning from the US. You are obliged to declare any purchases over the value of £145 ($245).

If you exceed this modest limit, you are required to pay duty and VAT on the entire value of your purchases, not just the value in excess of £145. You can check exact rates of duty by calling the customs helpline on 0845 010 9000, but it is a tricky business - it is simpler to reckon that clothes and shoes imported from the US will incur duty and tax amounting to 25 to 40 per cent of the original cost.

* The US Transportation Security Agency, which runs checkpoints at American airports, is recommending passengers wear flip-flops, sandals and "thin-soled athletic shoes" to minimise the time and stress of security checks. The TSA warns that even shoes that do not trigger the detector are liable to be inspected, and says that wearers of work boots and platform shoes may undergo extra screening.

Peruvian airline back in the sky

One of Peru's leading domestic airlines has started flying again after being grounded last month. Flights on Aero Continente were suspended when the company was unable to renew its insurance, following revelations that its owner, Fernando Zevallos, was facing charges of drug trafficking.

Aero Continente has been resurrected as a staff-owned enterprise called Nuevo (new) Continente, and is once again the main carrier between Lima and the former Inca capital, Cuzco.

The geography of Peru makes flying the ideal way to travel, but the country's aviation record is not a happy one. David Gilmour, director of the specialist agency South American Experience, says: "A few years ago, Fawcett Airlines (whose inflight entertainment consisted of bingo), went into liquidation, as did AeroPeru."