Get ready, sales tax-free weekend is just days away

Published 8:22 am Monday, July 22, 2019

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but back-to-school time is quickly approaching. The lazy days of summer are flying by, and before you know it, the kids will be returning to the classroom. While students are still enjoying the summer break, parents may start to feel some dread at this time of year over the impending back-to-school shopping.
Getting everything your kids need to go back to school can put a serious dent in your budget.
The good news is that Tennessee’s sales tax holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight Sunday. A long weekend of tax-free shopping on most apparel, shoes and school supplies that cost under $100 has been a tradition in Tennessee since 2005.
This year, the state forecasts that shoppers will save about $10 million in state and local taxes over the weekend.
Items exempt from sales and use tax during the holiday include clothing that costs $100 or less per item, such as shirts, pants, jackets, socks, shoes, dresses, etc. Also included are school and art supplies with a purchase price of $100 or less per item, such as binders, books, backpacks, crayons, paper, pens, pencils, and rulers, and art supplies, such as glazes, clay, paint, drawing pads, and artist paintbrushes. In addition, computers with a purchase price of $1,500 or less are exempted. This includes laptops as well as tablets, as long as they are not intended for business use.
While the savings benefit people of all ages, it is a means of encouraging shoppers to shop local and support the local business community.
While many analysts say the holiday just bunches purchases into one weekend vs. spreading them out, shoppers seem to like the chance to skip the sales tax.
Getting an almost 10 percent tax break adds to your buying power, and there are even better savings with many retailers sweetening the deals with special offers and other promotions during the weekend.
Some things you might not know that are tax exempt include diapers for adults, as well as diapers for infants and toddlers. Costumes, including adult and children’s, are exempt. And just about any kind of hat qualifies — baseball hats, golf hats, cowboy hats and knit hats.
Art supplies are also exempt. You may not need crayons, construction paper or sidewalk chalk, but how about canvases, paint or gel pens for your adult coloring books? Or permanent markers, acrylic or fabric paints or sketch pads?
The list of exempt items has some quirky things, too. A few that jumped out at me included: “veils for general use,” thongs, shoe laces, choir and altar clothing, garters/garter belts, girdles and corsets.
Sales tax free weekend is an important savings opportunity for everyone, and it only happens one weekend a year.
Tips for back-to-school shopping:
• Do some research before you hit the stores. Look at the flyers and websites to see what deals are being offered.
• Check prices. Sometimes retailers mark up only to mark down.
• Keep your receipts in case you want to return something.
Remember, nothing is a bargain unless you need it. Don’t get carried away buying things you don’t need.
Happy Shopping!

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