Shoppers take advantage of a sales tax holiday in this file photo.Photo by Brian McDermott
WHAT IS EXEMPT?
During Georgia’s Aug. 9-10 back-to-school sales tax holiday, the following items will be exempt:
• Clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item.
• A single purchase, with a sales price of $1,000 or less, of personal computers and personal computer-related accessories.
• General school supplies to be used in the classroom or in classroom-related activities with a sales price of $20 or less per item.
The exemption does not apply to clothing accessories, jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches, watchbands, cellular devices, furniture, computer-related accessories designed for recreational use, 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.
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Area parents will have one last chance to save on their kids’ school supplies on Friday and Saturday when Georgia waives sales tax on back-to-school items.
Tennessee and Alabama already had their three-day school supply sales tax holidays last weekend.
“[Georgia’s] is only two days this year. I hope our customers are going to understand that,” Fort Oglethorpe Walmart Supercenter Manager Steve Crow said.
Crow has watched Georgia whittle down the school sales tax holiday, which first began in 2002.
“It started out four days and went to three days and now it’s only two days,” Crow said. He joked, “They’ll wean the people in Georgia off of it pretty soon.”
The tax-free holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight on Saturday.
Crow’s store sees about a 10 percent increase in business during the sales tax holiday. The Walmart has a special display with back-to-school items accompanied by shopping lists provided by area schools.
Rossville Elementary School ask parents to supply everything from paper and pencils to items that vary by grade, including paper plates for kindergartners and backpacks for pre-kindergartners.
If a student shows up empty-handed, the school will scrounge up supplies that are either donated by area businesses, bought by teachers, or provided by other parents who buy more than their kids need, Assistant Principal Chris Sikes said.
“We make sure that … they don’t go without,” Sikes said.
Outfitting kids for school is big business. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Back-to-School Survey, families with school-age children will spend an average $635 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, down from $689 last year. Total spending on back-to-school is expected to reach $26.7 billion.
The survey found that the biggest portion of back-to-school shoppers’ budgets will go toward new apparel and accessories: 95.3 percent of those with school-age children will spend an average of $231 on fall sweaters, denim and other attire. Families will spend $114 on shoes and $90 on school supplies.
Fifty-five percent of families with children in grades K-12 will purchase electronics, the survey found, and those that are going to buy a new tablet or smartphone will spend $199.
Georgia’s school supplies sales tax holiday will cost the state between $39 million and $53 million in lost revenue while local governments will lose $27 million to $37 million, Georgia Department of Revenue Nick Genesi said.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.