Tax-free weekend begins Friday for 'school supplies'

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka and Paris Goodnight
Salisbury Post
Glenda Dyson has only been in business with her new Salisbury store, “Just The Thing,” for a couple of weeks, so her retail experience is limited.
But she knows North Carolina’s annual tax-free weekend could mean a lot to her educational toy and teacher supply store. She plans to have extra help and friends’ kids to demonstrate some of the hands-on toys.
She’ll also extend her regular Friday hours to 10 p.m. at the downtown store, located at 103 N. Main St.
“Teachers take advantage of any freebie or deduction they can get,” Dyson said Wednesday.
North Carolina’s tax-free holiday starts Friday and goes through Sunday. As in previous years, the state sales and use tax, and any other applicable local sales and use taxes, are not imposed on back-to-school items such as clothing, accessories and supplies.
Traditional supplies like pencils, pens, notebooks, book bags, lunch boxes and even computers will be tax free over the weekend.
Some strange things appear on the back-to-school list of tax-free items this year, such as wedding gowns and garter belts.
Some that you might think would be on there, like musical instruments students will be playing this fall, aren’t included.
Neighboring states used to see a spike in sales before North Carolina added the tax-free holiday in 2001, but with South Carolina and Virginia all offering the break on the same weekend, chances for any bargain across a state line have evaporated.
Some places are offering extended hours for shopping. A spokesperson for the Salisbury Mall said at least anchor stores Belk, JC Penney and Goody’s will have extended hours and others were considering staying open longer. Concord Mills will be open Friday, 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Stores such as Thread Shed, Lee Clothing Warehouse and Granite Knitwear Factory Outlet are advertising their school uniforms for sale over the weekend, which also includes Downtown Salisbury Inc.’s ” ’60s Night Out” that has some downtown stores staying open until 10 p.m. Friday for customers.The list of items that get the tax break include clothing costing $100 or less per item; sport or recreational equipment costing $50 or less per item; computers costing $3,500 or less; computer supplies costing $250 or less per item; and school supplies costing $100 or less per item.
Clothing accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, protective equipment, wallets, furniture, items used in a trade or business and rentals are not exempt from the sales tax.
N.C. Rep. Lorene Coates of Salisbury forwarded a release reminding shoppers of the state’s sixth annual sales tax holiday, which starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
“I’m proud that we were able to start the tax-free holiday my first term and that it is continuing today. Our families continue to be overburdened with taxes, which is why I recently voted against the state budget. I hope this tax holiday can help with that burden in at least a small way,” said Coates.
The sales tax is 6.75 cents on the dollar in most of North Carolina.
For more information on the sales tax holiday, or for a more complete list of items that qualify as “school supplies,” visit the N.C. Department of Revenue’s Web site, www. dornc.com, and click on the sales and tax information link.
DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organization that allows people to donate money online to purchase supplies for classrooms, is encouraging North Carolinians to donate a portion of the money they save to help supply classroom resources to those in need. You can donate at www.donorschoose.org/NC.
On the Web: http://www. dornc.com/taxes/sales/salestax_holiday.html

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