Back-to-school sales tax holiday begins Friday

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Alabama’s eleventh annual “Back-To-School” sales tax holiday weekend begins Friday, eliminating state sales tax on specified items until the clock strikes midnight on Sunday.

State sales tax is lifted for the entire state, but it is up to municipalities whether to eliminate local sales taxes as well. Fortunately for Troy and Brundidge residents, both municipalities voted to always follow the holiday guidelines shortly after the holiday was conceived. Pike County also participates in the tax break each year.

Banks will not be eliminating sales tax over the weekend, so residents looking to avoid paying local sales tax will need to travel to Troy or Brundidge to do their shopping.

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Troy City Clerk Alton Starling said that the holiday can help local families and businesses.

“It puts more money in the family’s pocket so they don’t have to pay nine more percent on top of the supplies they buy,” Starling said. “If we have a sales tax holiday and others don’t, then it will certainly provide an extra benefit to shopping here. And that person or family that comes might get gas here and lunch or dinner as well.”

Although the tax break is targeted to help families buy supplies before school starts, the tax break can also be used for other clothing, books and computer needs.

E+Me Boutique owner Chelsea Haisten explained how the tax break helps smaller local businesses and not just the larger retail stores.

“It encourages people to shop local and increases foot traffic, which brings in customers that may have never shopped here before,” Haisten said. “Tax-free weekend is a great opportunity for local businesses to gain exposure.”

Items exempt from sales tax during the holiday are:

• Clothing costing less than $100

• Computers or computer software costing less than $750

•School supplies costing less than $50

• Books costing less than $30