Time to go ‘tax free’

Published 7:40 pm Friday, July 29, 2011

The annual sales tax holiday is next weekend.

Alabamians are gearing up to save money on back-to-school essentials as the state’s sixth annual sales tax holiday quickly approaches.

According to the Alabama Retail Association, beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug.5, until midnight Sunday, Aug.7, the state’s 4 percent sales tax, as well as sales taxes levied by the 272 cities and counties that have agreed to participate are waived on the following items: clothing priced at $100 or less, school supplies valued at $50 or less, books that cost $30 or less, computers and computer equipment with a selling price of $750 or less.

Pike County, Troy and Brundidge have waived local sales taxes for the weekend.

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The tax holiday will bring some much-needed relief to the wallets of Alabamians throughout the state and Kathy Sauer, president of Pike County Chamber of Commerce, said she hopes the citizens of Troy will take advantage of the tax-free weekend.

“The tax holiday specifically serves to help families with school-aged children,” Sauer said. “During these tough economic times at the state and local level, our legislators and city government, should be commended for choosing to continue this tax holiday weekend that benefits so many. So, please take this opportunity to shop in Pike County and help support our local businesses.”

Sauer said that by shopping locally, the sales would benefit the local economy as well as the citizens shopping.

“It is beneficial in that it helps people get the supplies they need and it will help to support our local businesses,” Sauer said. “The start of school for each new school year can be hard on the family budget. With the upcoming tax holiday, parents will be able to save money on all types of school supplies.”

Sauer said she appreciates the state and local governments for the tax holiday and hopes many parents will take advantage when Aug. 5 comes rolling around.

Dianna Lee, marketing and media relation’s officer at Troy Bank and Trust and mother of three 13-year-old triplets, said she looks forward to the tax holiday.

“We usually always participate in the tax holiday because when you are providing for multiple children, your school supplies are pretty much tripled,” Lee said. “Any time I can get any type of a break, we usually take advantage of it.”

Lee said it is a good idea to wait and do the bulk of your back-to-school shopping during the tax holiday.

“We try to concentrate most of our shopping during the time that the tax holiday is going on so we don’t have to pay sales tax on the clothing that we buy, the school supplies and other things that we are able to use the tax holiday for,” Lee said.

Although many back-to-school shoppers benefit from the tax holiday weekend, they certainly aren’t the only ones.

The Alabama Retail Association said that “while the holiday is aimed at the back-to-school shopper, it is open to everyone” and shoppers should look for great deals on clothing for building up their wardrobe and computers and computer accessories, as well as any other electronics shoppers may be interested in.

Rick Brown, president of the Alabama Retail Association, said the tax holiday might give Alabama the spike in sales growth retailers are looking for.

“Sales growth so far this year has averaged about 2.5 percent monthly,” Brown said, in a press release. “The August sales tax holiday should provide the momentum for Alabama’s retail sales growth to continue at that rate or slightly higher.”