Sales tax-free weekend affords shoppers savings

Published 1:17 am Sunday, July 24, 2011

It’s coming back.
The next sales-tax-free weekend for back-to-school-related purchases begins at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 5 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 7.
During that weekend, many school-related supplies may be purchased without having to pay the usual sales taxes on them. During the sales-tax holiday, 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 and local sales taxes.
“It’s one of our busiest times,” said Erica Ormand, a manager at Office Depot in Washington, about the sales-tax holiday. “We’ll be busy from then to the end of the year.”
“We do,” Ormand said when asked if the store schedules more employees to work during a sales-tax holiday.
Ormand said employees are informed not to plan to have that entire weekend off from work.
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 Gov. Mike Easley in 2001.
The sales-tax holiday means that for each $100 spent on eligible items in Beaufort County, the consumer saves $6.75 in sales tax, according to the N.C. Department of Revenue’s website. The combined state and local sales taxes in Beaufort County come to 6.75 cents per dollar. For each $100 in purchases made in Pitt County, customers will save $7. The combined state and local sales taxes in Pitt County come to 7 cents per dollar.
This weekend’s back-to-school-related sales-tax holiday will be the 11th one, with the first one in 2001.
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. Retailers may not choose to not participate in the sales-tax weekend, according to the N.C. Department of Revenue.
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 taxes.
Go to for more details on the 2011 sales-tax holiday, including a technical bulletin that specifies the items that are exempt from sales tax.
During the sales-tax holiday in 2009, North Carolina forfeited an estimated $12.3 million in sales-tax revenue, according to state officials.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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