Sales tax holidays will help shoppers save

Published 6:25 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012

As parents and children prepare for back-to-school, the state of Georgia has declared Friday, Aug. 10, and Saturday, Aug. 11, as sales tax holidays, where sales tax is omitted for items such as some clothing and shoes, school supplies, and personal computers and computer accessories.

This is the first sales tax holiday declared by the state since 2009.

Traditionally it has been scheduled for back-to-school shopping. Unfortunately, for many families and local retailers, the tax break may come too late this year, since Decatur County Schools open this Friday, Aug. 3.

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Meanwhile, Alabama and Florida both have their sales tax holidays on clothing and school supplies set for Aug. 3-5.

However, Threasa Hall, manager of Belk Department Store in Bainbridge is optimistic.

“Located as we are, we may lose some traffic to Alabama and Florida,” she said. “But when it comes to clothing, people will still come shop again. Our customers have always liked to take advantage of the tax-exempt sales, and when you combine them with our coupons it is quite a savings for them.”

Guidelines for the Georgia-exempt items are clothes and shoes, whose sales price is $100 or less; school supplies with a price of $20 or less per item; and a single purchase of a personal computer and personal computer accessories, whose sales price does not exceed $1,000.

Not qualifying for the sales-tax exemption are such items as clothing accessories, jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches and watchbands, cell phones, furniture, recreational-use computer accessories, items used in a trade or business or for resale, or rentals; or sales in theme parks, entertainment complexes, public lodging establishments, restaurants or airports.

Limits per item in Alabama are $100 on clothing, $50 on school supplies, $30 on books, and $750 on computers. Florida will exempt tax on clothing up to $75, and up to $15 on school supplies.

Georgia will have an additional sales tax holiday Oct. 5-7 on energy-efficient and water-efficient products, including dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, refrigerators, doors or windows that have been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy as meeting or exceeding energy-saving efficiency requirements, or that have been designated as meeting or exceeding Energy Star requirements.