Tax free weekend ahead

Published 3:45pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

The first day of school is still a few weeks away, but this weekend will give shoppers an opportunity to purchase back-to-school supplies at a discount.

Alabama’s sales tax holiday provision also allows cities and counties to join the state by removing their own local sales and use taxes from back-to-school-related items during the same weekend.  More than 250 local governments across the state are participating.  In Escambia County, the city of Brewton will be participating in the sales tax holiday, which will save shoppers an additional 3 percent on taxes. The state sales tax rate is 4 percent and will not be charged this weekend. County sales tax is 1 percent with that tax being charged this weekend.  Atmore and East Brewton will not be a participant in the sales tax holiday with the exception of state sales tax. Purchases in East Brewton will be subject to the 4 percent city sales tax and the 1 percent county sales tax. Atmore will be following East Brewton and will only discount school-related purchases by the 4 percent state sales tax.  The 2012 back-to-school shopping season will mark the seventh year the sales tax holiday has been imposed. The event will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 3 and will end at midnight Sunday, Aug. 5.  Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said the continuation of the observance of the sales tax holiday is an effort to help families reduce costs for back-to-school needs.

“The cost of school supplies can quickly add up, and this sales tax holiday is about saving families money,” Bentley said.  “This is also a way of encouraging shoppers to support our businesses, large and small.  This is the seventh year for the sales tax holiday, and it covers a wide range of items, from school supplies to clothing and computers. I encourage people to take advantage of this opportunity to save some money while also preparing for the start of the new school year.”

Other state officials also believe the holiday is important to helping families survive in tough economic times. Alabama Revenue Commissioner Julie P. Magee said the event also encourages shopping locally when possible.

“The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday helps both families and our business community alike,” Magee said.  “The holiday brings more people out shopping to take advantage of tax-free items and sales offered by retailers. It has become a much-anticipated event. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the holiday and support our local business communities.”

Other neighboring cities participating in the sales tax holiday include Andalusia and Flomaton.

Items exempt from state taxes include articles of clothing priced at $100 or less to include all human wearing apparel suitable for general use. Computer, software and school-related school supplies are included if the purchase is $750 or less. Printers are also exempt from state sales taxes as are printer supplies, including ink and paper.  School art supplies will be exempt from state sales taxes as well as any book priced at $30 or less and is considered a noncommercial purchase.

Items not included in the tax exemption include, but not limited to, sporting equipment or uniforms, cosmetics, jewelry, sewing materials and supplies, protective equipment, wigs, watches, furniture and a wide range of other items.

For a detailed list of items included and excluded from sales tax discounts, visit the Alabama Department of Revenue Website at http://revenue.alabama.gov and choose the Sales Tax Holiday 2012 link.

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