Sales-tax holiday slated for weekend|Three-day event begins on Friday and ends Sunday

Published 10:52 am Thursday, August 6, 2009

Contributing Editor

It’s back.
The three-day sales-tax holiday returns Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That’s good news for consumers buying back-to-school items and clothing. While consumers save money on specific purchases this weekend, the state loses tax revenues from those sales.
“The estimates hover around $18 million … that’s the combined state and local revenues,” said Thomas Beam, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Revenue.
This weekend’s sales-tax holiday will be the ninth one, with the first one in 2001, Beam said. That total does not include the first Energy Star appliance sales-tax holiday last November, during which specific Energy Star-qualified appliances such as washing machines, freezers, refrigerators, air conditioners and other items were exempt from sales tax.
“The sales-tax holiday provides a great opportunity for families to get their back to school clothing and supplies and save some money in the process,” Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton said in a news release. “The tax savings combined with all the sale prices that retailers typically offer during the weekend will really make the dollar go further.”
“With double-digit unemployment dragging down sales, the tax-free weekend couldn’t come at a better time for the North Carolina economy,” said Dalton.
Two years ago, then-Gov. Mike Easley signed into law legislation that added school instructional materials, such as reference books, maps, globes, textbooks and workbooks with an individual price tag of up to $300, to the list of items exempt from the sales tax. Previously, the price limit was $100.
The sales-tax holiday applies to state and local sales and use taxes. The back-to-school sales-tax holiday was enacted by the N.C. Legislature and signed into law by Easley in 2001.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, clothing, footwear and school supplies of $100 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item’ computers of $3,500 or less per item; and computer supplies of $250 or less per item will be exempt from state sales tax during the weekend. State sales and use taxes will go back into effect at midnight Sunday.
Retailers may only collect from their customers sales taxes that are legally due (during the weekend), according to the N.C. Department of Revenue’s Web site.
Clothing accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, protective equipment, wallets, furniture, items used in a trade or business, and rentals are not covered by the exemption and will be subject to the applicable tax.
A complete list of eligible items is available at the N.C. Department of Revenue’s Web site: