Shops, shoppers gear up for back-to-school tax holiday

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Shoppers like Shelby Western of Demopolis will have the opportunity to save money this weekend during the back-to-school tax-free holiday weekend.

Shoppers like Shelby Western of Demopolis will have the opportunity to save money this weekend during the back-to-school tax-free holiday weekend.

Back to school time is upon us. It’s wonderful thing for parents to hear and an awful feeling for children to experience. However, with this time of the year comes an important weekend in the state of Alabama, the sales tax free holiday. The 10th annual event starts at 12:01 a.m. on August 7 and ends at midnight on August 9.
“This weekend is a win-win for our citizens and local businesses,” said. Ashley Coplin, Executive Director of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our citizens will be able to save money on clothes and school supplies while our local businesses should see an increase in customers and sales. I encourage everyone to shop locally for all their back to school needs.”
Items eligible for the tax-free weekend are broken down into categories that include clothing, computers and computer supplies, school and school art supplies and books.
For clothing to qualify for sales tax exemption, each article of clothing must be under $100 and be suitable for general use. School uniforms, shoes, socks, underwear, belts, jeans, diapers and pajamas all fall under this umbrella. However, items that are accessories like jewelry, sunglasses and umbrellas are not exempt from tax-free status. Protective equipment and sport and recreational equipment also will be taxed.
“As a child and even a college student, I always enjoyed buying school supplies. Now as an adult and having a child, saving money is a priority and being able to buy school supplies and save money excites me,” Coplin said.
Computers, computer software and school computer supplies follow different rules. Any computer, which includes laptops, desktops or a tower computer system that consists of a central processing unit and devices such as a display monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers, must be sold as a complete package and full under $750 to qualify for tax exemption. School computer supplies to be tax-free include printers and items such as ink and print paper to go along with the printer. Computer storage media, personal digital assistants and handheld electronic schedulers that are not cellular devices are tax-free as well.
For school supplies, items that are less than $50 each are eligible for tax-free exemption. Most items that are needed for schools are covered as tax-free exemption and are on supply lists given for school. However, classroom items such as hand sanitizer and tissue are not tax-free.
Required books that are less than $30 each are eligible for tax exemption, but newspapers and magazines are not.
For a full listing of items that are tax-free for the holiday weekend, visit http://revenue.alabama.gov/salestax/STHolidayQuickRefSheet15.pdf.

For this story and more see the Wednesday, August 5, print edition of the Demopolis Times.