A judge in Washington State has blocked what might have been a tax loophole for cross-border shoppers from B.C. when the new HST comes into effect on Thursday.

State officials had previously said that Ontario and B.C. residents would be eligible for a tax break on tangible goods purchased for use outside of the state once the harmonized sales tax is in place.

That exemption would have covered lodging, restaurant meals and other services.

But a Skagit County Superior Court judge has issued an order temporarily blocking that exemption, in response to filings from the city of Bellingham and Whatcom County, whose lawyers argued the governments would suffer significant tax losses.

That decision is not final, and will be back before the court on July 9.