Tax-free shopping a boost for families, merchants
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle retailers selling back-to-school supplies are expected to see as big boost in sales next weekend thanks to a sales tax holiday being observed by state and local governments. Hartselle shoppers will be exempted from paying a 4-cent state sales tax, a 3-cent city sales tax and a 1-cent county sales tax on selected items.
The tax holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3, and end at midnight Sunday, Aug. 5. Statewide, 225 cities and counties have dropped sales tax collections during the 72-hour period.
The following items may be purchased tax-free: clothing priced at $100 or less; school supplies priced at $50 or less; books priced at $30 or less; and computers and computer equipment priced at $750 or less.
Families with school-age children are expected to spend almost 7 percent more on back-to-school shopping this year, according to a national survey of consumer intentions. That number could even be higher in Alabama, as the state observes its second sales tax holiday with more local governments participating than last year. The savings for consumers can grow as much as 10 percent when local governments agree to also waive their sales taxes.
According to the National Retail Federation's "2007 Back-to- School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey," the average family with school-age children in the South is expected to spend $557.26 on back-to-school items. In Hartselle, consumers spending that amount would save $44.58 as a result of the sales tax holiday. Alabama's sales tax holiday should attract more than back-to-school shoppers. Those interested in filling out their wardrobes and stocking their libraries and home offices also can benefit from buying during the tax-free weekend. While the holiday is aimed at the back-to-school shopper, it is open to everyone.