0

Back-to-school sales tax weekend begins

Average family to spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics

Stores like Best Buy are expecting an influx in shoppers for this weekend’s Georgia back-to-school sales tax holiday where the average family with children in kindergarten through high school will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey. (Special Photo)

Stores like Best Buy are expecting an influx in shoppers for this weekend’s Georgia back-to-school sales tax holiday where the average family with children in kindergarten through high school will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey. (Special Photo)

photo

The Georgia Retail Association estimates that combined spending at stores including Target for grade school and college is expected to reach about $2 billion statewide during this weekend’s Georgia back-to-school sales tax holiday. (File Photo)

photo

Computers, clothes and school supplies purchased on Friday and Saturday at stores like Walmart will be sold without a sales tax as the holiday applies to the four percent state sales tax and any local sales taxes. The holiday runs from 12:01 a.m. on Friday through midnight on Saturday. (File Photo)

Retailers and shoppers are gearing up for the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday which could save shoppers seven percent to eight percent in total taxes.

Computers, clothes and school supplies purchased on Friday and Saturday will be sold without a sales tax as the holiday applies to the four percent state sales tax and any local sales taxes. The holiday runs from 12:01 a.m. on Friday through midnight on Saturday.

The Georgia Retail Association estimates that combined spending is expected to reach about $2 billion statewide.

“Everyone loves a tax break. Georgia’s families enjoy the sales tax holiday, and retailers usually enjoy a nice increase in store traffic,” Taylor Byrd, executive director of the Georgia Retail Association, said in a press release. “The increase in business is good for our economy, because it means more work hours and higher payrolls. Consumer spending is about 70 percent of our economy, so when retail is doing well it means everyone is doing well.”

The average family with children in kindergarten through high school will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, up five percent from $634.78 last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The expected influx of traffic also caused the Georgia Department of Transportation to suspend construction-related lane closures on all interstates and major state routes within five miles of malls and major shopping districts. The construction break will run from 8 a.m. on Friday through 10 p.m. on Saturday.

“The sales tax holiday is an opportunity for Georgians to save a little money during these challenging economic times,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden in a press release. “The Department is glad to offer some relief from lane closures as families prepare for school.”

A listing of tax exempt items is available on the Georgia Department of Revenue’s website under Sales Tax at https://etax.dor.ga.gov.

During the August sales tax holidays, the following items will be exempt:

• Clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item

• Computers, computer components, and prewritten computer software purchased for noncommercial home or personal use with a sales price of $1,000 or less per item

• School supplies, school art supplies, school computer supplies, and school instructional materials purchased for noncommercial use with a sales price of $20 or less per item.

The exemption does not apply to:

• Belt buckles sold separately

• Costume masks sold separately

• Patches and emblems sold separately

• Sewing equipment and supplies, including but not limited to knitting needles, patterns, pins, scissors, sewing machines, sewing needles, tape measures, and thimbles

• Sewing materials that become part of clothing, including but not limited to buttons, fabric, lace, thread, yarn, and zippers; clothing accessories or equipment

• Cell phones