Deals, savings available over tax holiday

Published 8:23 pm Friday, August 7, 2015

Local retailers noticed an increase in business Friday as the annual back to school sales tax holiday started.

Hibbett Sports opened with sales and marked down prices on apparel and shoes, according to manager Kandra Walker.

“With this week, it’s been an increase [in sales] because last year we weren’t open around this time. So, it’s been a big increase in sales,” Walker said.

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Screenco Enterprises also shown increased business as parents came in looking for school uniforms. Manager Jeffrey Nichols said customers have been flowing in, and the store is ready for crowds.

“People are really taking advantage of that. They’re saving on average $10-$15,” he said.

However, both Walker and Nichols said with Selma City Schools starting back on Thursday, many parents have already completed their back to school shopping.

“Normally the sales tax will hit before the school starts,” Nichols said. “People normally like to wait until then, and purchase everything. I think it’s down a little bit.”

The following items are exempt from tax during the holiday:

For clothing to qualify for sales tax exemption, each article of clothing must be under $100 and be suitable for general use. School uniforms, shoes, socks, underwear, belts, jeans, diapers and pajamas all fall under this umbrella. However, items that are accessories like jewelry, sunglasses and umbrellas are not exempt from tax-free status. Protective equipment and sport and recreational equipment also will be taxed.

Computers, computer software and school computer supplies follow different rules.

Any computer, which includes laptops, desktops or a tower computer system that consists of a central processing unit and devices such as a display monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers, must be sold as a complete package and be under $750 to qualify for tax exemption.

School computer supplies to be tax-free include printers and items such as ink and print paper.

Computer storage media, personal digital assistants and handheld electronic schedulers that are not cellular devices are tax-free as well.

For school supplies, items that are less than $50 each are eligible for tax-free exemption. Most items that are needed for schools are covered as tax-free exemption and are on supply lists given for school. However, classroom items such as hand sanitizer and tissue are not tax-free.

Required books that are less than $30 each are eligible for tax exemption, but newspapers and magazines are not.

The sales tax holiday weekend started Friday at midnight and will go through Sunday at midnight.