The Union Recorder

July 26, 2013

Many locals back-to-school shopping prior to sales tax free holiday

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Robin Harper stopped by the Belk store in the Milledgeville Mall Friday afternoon to shop for school uniforms for her granddaughter Adriana in time for school to start back next week even though she didn’t receive a sales tax break. 

Like Harper, many Baldwin County school parents are in the midst of purchasing last-minute school supplies, electronics and clothes for their children prior to the sales tax free holiday.

“I’ve never really had to worry about getting school uniforms and supplies on the sales tax-free holiday since my children are grown. But Adriana is starting kindergarten at Eagle Ridge Elementary School so we have to get uniforms for when school starts Friday even though the sales tax free holiday isn’t until after school starts back,” Harper said while picking out khaki and navy blue polo shirts, skirts and pants. “It’s a disadvantage to have the sales tax free weekend after school has already started, especially when Baldwin County public school families need it the most.”

Georgia shoppers will not have to pay sales tax Friday, Aug. 9 and Saturday, Aug. 10 on general school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less per item, clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item, and personal computers and computer-related accessories with a purchase price of $1,000 or less.

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Back-to-School Survey, families with school-age children will spend an average $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, down from $688.62 last year. The total back-to-school and back-to-college spending combined is expected to reach $72.5 billion this year. The biggest portion of back-to-school shoppers’ budgets will go toward new apparel and accessories — spending an average of $114.39 on shoes and $90.49 on school supplies.

“Sales are going on now and stores are offering some discounts, so it helps,” said Sandersville resident Marlene Johnson while shopping for uniforms for her sons at JC Penney Friday. “We still plan to buy more uniforms and shoes during the sales tax free holiday. We already purchased school supplies since we didn’t have to buy much. We’re doing the best we can.”

Some items not tax exempt during the sales tax holiday include jewelry, handbags, cosmetics, umbrellas, eyewear, digital cameras, gaming software and consoles, televisions, cellular devices and furniture.

At least 16 other states also have tax-free periods planned this year, mostly for spending on school items. Georgia has had an annual sales tax holiday for more than a decade, except from 2009 to 2011 when state leaders ended the tradition when the Georgia’s tax revenue plunged.

The Milledgeville Walmart store will kick off the sales tax weekend at midnight Aug. 9 and end at midnight Aug. 10. The local Belk store will expand hours during the sale tax weekend from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. OfficeMax, Big Lots, Kmart, JC Penney and T.J. Maxx plan to operate during regular business hours.

For more information about the sales tax holiday and tax exempt items, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue website at www.etax.dor.ga.gov.

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