Plans for a Tennessee sales tax holiday March 21-23 are being rearranged after lawmakers realized they had scheduled the event for Easter weekend.
“We certainly want to allow for as many citizens as possible to take advantage of the sales tax holiday in Tennessee,” said Sen. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville, who sponsored legislation to move the tax holiday to April 25-27. “Many businesses close for Easter and would not be participating in the sales tax holiday under the current law.”
The Senate passed legislation moving the holiday to the last weekend in April. The bill should be up for a vote in the House by early this week, said Rep. Randy Rinks, D-Savannah, who sponsored a House measure to reschedule the tax holiday.
Annette Moultrie, an assistant manager at Goody’s Family Clothing on Gunbarrel Road, said the store hasn’t started planning yet for the three-day sales tax holiday. But they do have plans for Easter Sunday.
“We’re closed,” she said. “Who’s going to shop on Easter?”
Though Easter doesn’t often occur in March, lawmakers should have checked for conflicts before they scheduled the sales tax holiday, Ms. Moultrie said.
“They should have looked at their calendars more carefully,” she said.
At Best Buy on Gunbarrel Road, manager Wendell Norman said the store will be ready for the sales tax holiday “no matter what day it is.”
“We’ve already got our plan together for that,” he said. “We would beef up inventory for that weekend.”
Sophie Moery, communications director for the Tennessee Department of Revenue, said the state has not aggressively promoted the spring sales tax holiday because of the expected date change.
“We’ve been working with partners in state government ... that work with retailers to get them the information,” she said. “They obviously are all aware of the potential date change.”
The state also has a sales tax holiday in August to coincide with back-to-school shopping. That is an annual event, while the spring sales tax holiday is planned year-to-year based on budget numbers, Rep. Rinks said.
“Because of the condition of the budget we probably won’t do it again next year,” Rep. Rinks said of the spring sales tax holiday.
During the holidays, state sales tax is not charged on goods such as clothing, school supplies and computers under $1,500. Shoppers typically save from $8 million to $10 million during the events, Ms. Moery said.
The scheduling of the sales tax holiday on Easter weekend “definitely was not intentional,” she said.
“Easter was very early this year,” she said.
Easter Sunday has not fallen on March 23 since 1913 and will not fall on that date again until 2160. Easter Sunday is the Sunday following the Paschal full moon, which is determined from historical tables. The earliest possible date for Easter is March 22 while the latest is April 25.
Source: scienceworld.wolfram.com, Astronomical Society of South Australia