Tax-free weekend offers chance to save on school items

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Drew Sechler
School is on the horizon for area students and that means it’s time to buy school supplies. But parents and others buying supplies can get a break: The state’s annual sales-tax-free weekend starts Friday and continues through Sunday.
Paying no sales tax on purchases can mean quite a bit of savings for somebody who has a long shopping list like most parents do.
According to BIGresearch, the average family spends nearly $550 on school supplies each year.
Cindy Martin, special education teacher at Millbridge Elementary, says she intends to take full advantage of the opportunity.
“I take advantage of the tax-free weekend for my own children’s school supplies and my classroom as well,” Martin said.
Martin noted that teachers’ supply budgets have been cut this year. At the request of the school system, county funds usually earmarked for classroom supplies were instead used to save some positions threatened by state cuts.
“It is necessary for teachers to use every opportunity to equip the classroom with basic supplies at the lowest cost possible,” Martin said.
Local retailers such as Wal-Mart and Office Depot are ready for the business they will get this weekend.
Wanda Hinson, co-manager at the Salisbury Wal-Mart, says the store expects to do a lot of business in clothing.
“Last year was really good,” Hinson said about the 2008 sales-tax holiday.
Hinson added that sales are “a little higher” during the tax-free weekends.
The state imposes stipulations on the amount a shopper can spend on certain items and qualify for the tax benefit. Clothing must be $100 or less per item; sport or recreational equipment, $50 or less per item; computers, $3,500 or less; computer supplies, $250 or less per item; school supplies, $100 or less per item; and school instructional material, $300 or less per item.
So get your shopping shoes on this weekend and get those much-needed school supplies, tax free.