Easing costs of school

Published 7:34 pm Friday, July 31, 2009

The budget for children to return to school next Friday may be down a little this year, and for some parents who are struggling in this recession are thankful for the tax-free shopping days the state legislature again passed this year.

“I waited for tax-free days to buy anything for school,” said Christine Nichols, who was shopping at Kmart Friday for her two children’s back-to-school supplies.

Nichols said she would normally budget approximately $1,000 for back-to-school supplies and clothes. But this year, she’s cut her budget down to $600.

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Nichols was with her daughter, Alexis Musgrove, 15, a upcoming freshman at Bainbridge High School, and Sarince Cook, 9, an upcoming third-grader at West Bainbridge Elementary. They had just returned from the freshmen orientation at the new high school, which is holding a public open house and tour on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Lisa Burke said she’s saving too from tax-free shopping days, which are often combined with store specials.

Burke was shopping for a niece and nephew set to go to Potter Street Elementary School, and her 1-year-old son who is starting day care. She figures to spend about $150 for each child’s back to school supplies.

Tax-free days

The sales tax holiday began Thursday and will run through Sunday, Aug. 2.

According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, during the sales tax holiday period, a sales-tax exemption applies to purchases of tangible personal property in the following categories:

Articles of clothing. The exemption applies to articles of clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item. Clothing accessories such as handbags, umbrellas, cuff links, handkerchiefs, jewelry, key cases, wallets, watches and watch bands, and ponytail holders and/or similar hair products are not exempt.

Personal computers. A single purchase of $1,500 or less of personal computers and/or related accessories is exempt. If the single purchase exceeds $1,500, the entire transaction is taxable.

General school supplies. The exemption applies to the purchase of general school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less per item.

The exemptions are intended for an individual’s personal use.