Take advantage of sales tax holiday

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

OP0727 Editorial Tax Free Weekend

Carter Countians shopping for school supplies and clothes for the upcoming school year should take advantage of the sales-tax holiday Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
This year, Tennessee’s sales tax holiday will be one weekend earlier than it has been in the past, due to a 2016 law change. The holiday was changed from the first weekend in August to the last weekend in July.
If you want to maximize your savings, though, don’t be trapped by the allure of a tax holiday alone. Anyone planning to shop this weekend should study the rules so they know what’s tax exempt and what is not, like pricey electronics, and to avoid confusion at checkout. Some retailers are anticipating Black Friday-like crowds. More importantly, shoppers must be disciplined.
The National Retail Federation estimates families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average of $630 on apparel, electronics and supplies — a decrease from last year.
Also, there are two back-to-school bashes this weekend, which provide children with school supplies such as backpacks, pencils, paper, composition books, etc.
The Tennessee sales-tax holiday has been a bonanza time for families to buy back-to-school supplies and shoes and most clothing without having to pay taxes on the items. Shoppers will save 9-3/4 percent on clothing, school supplies, and computers, along with other items classified by the Tennessee Department of Revenue as exempt from sales tax for this one weekend. And in today’s economy, every dollar helps.
Consumers will not pay state or local sales tax on clothing, school and art supplies that cost $100 or less per item and computers that cost $1,500 or less. This is a weekend when every little bit of savings adds up — from a few cents on some school supplies, to $10 on a $100 outfit or pair of shoes to almost $150 on some computers.
Tennessee is among 17 states that offer tax-free shopping holidays. Tennessee had its first sales tax holiday in 2006.
It’s wise to have a list and try to stick to it. Otherwise, you might blow the tax savings pretty quickly.
Backpacks under $100 are tax exempt, for example, but other accessories, like purses, wallets, jewelry and watches, are not. Also, specific athletic gear might not be tax-free.
As students get ready to head back to school, Tennessee’s sales tax holiday on back-to-school items has become almost as much a part of the annual ritual as are picking up class schedules and memorizing locker combinations.
Ask most any parent and they’ll tell you they appreciate the break.
This weekend bonanza is intended to give parents a little more bang for their buck in buying back-to-school clothing. But you don’t have to have school-aged children to take advantage. Tax-exempt shopping also acts as an economic stimulus, bringing more customers into businesses.
It all adds up to give area residents one of their best opportunities this year when it comes to shopping for clothing. And there’s no better place to start the hunt for bargains than right here at home.
Shopping at home is more convenient for local residents, and besides, it helps our local economy. If that’s not enough, you’ll get that invaluable personal touch from your hometown merchants. So get your wallets out and get ready to shop at home this weekend. It’s better for all of us.

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