Back to school sales tax weekend helps save cash

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday is coming up soon and offers the public a tax-free way of shopping just in time for school.

The cities of Selma and Orrville along with Dallas County will be participating in the state of Alabama in the holiday Friday, July 21 through Sunday, July 23.

In previous years, the tax-free holiday has been the first full weekend of August, but the Alabama Department of Revenue changed the weekend to be held the third full weekend of July for the coming years.

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Sheryl Smedley, executive director of the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, said the holiday is good for the economy in the city and county because it draws shoppers, and they spend money on other items as well.

“It attracts people into the areas to shop, which could lead them to buy other items that aren’t tax-free during the weekend,” she said. “There’s something in it for everybody because if you come shopping you’re either going to end up buying some gas or food while you’re here. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

According to the Alabama Department of Revenue, the 12th annual sales tax holiday gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers and clothing free of state sales or use tax.

Sales tax in the state of Alabama is 4 percent, Dallas County is 1.5 percent, Selma is 4.5 percent and Orrville is 2 percent.

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton said the holiday is meant to help parents by giving them a 10 percent break on back to school items.

“The school sales tax holiday is an important opportunity for families to get 10 percent more necessary school supplies,” Melton said. “During a time when our Republican Legislature has voted time and time again to cut school funding and teacher pay, our parents are being asked to pick up the slack by providing more school and classroom supplies. For many families, the 10 percent they save by enjoying a tax-free weekend makes a big difference in their back-to-school budget.”

Melton said in addition to the tax-free holiday, the city of Selma and the Selma Police Department is doing their part to help out parents as well.

“As always, the Selma Police Department will be partnering with our office to assist in alleviating this burden on Selma’s families by providing free school supplies on Saturday, Aug. 5 at the River Rally,” he said.

Orrville Mayor Louvenia Lumpkin said that Orrville always participated to try and help parents before school starts back.

“The reason that Orrville participates is that you have a lot of parents out in Orrville that would appreciate school supplies and buying clothes and don’t have to pay that sales tax,” Lumpkin said. “That will give the parents more money to spend on items that the children need going back to school. It helps the parents.”

Dallas County Probate Judge and chairman of the Dallas County Commission Kim Ballard said the weekend tends to show an increase in sales tax for the county because people are out shopping and buying other items.

“It gives people a chance to buy certain items without paying the sales tax on it. It gives them a break,” Ballard said. “Historically, every year we’ve had it, there’s been a sales tax increase.”

Valley Grande will not participate in the tax-free weekend, although there will still be no state or county tax in the city.

Selma City Schools, Dallas County Schools, Ellwood Christian Academy and Meadowview Christian School will all start back Aug. 7, and Morgan Academy will begin Aug. 9.