Back-to-school bargains: tax-free holiday offers savingsPublished 12:01am Friday, July 27, 2012
NATCHEZ — Shoppers looking to save a few extra bucks on back-to-school shopping can take advantage of some extra savings during this weekend’s annual sales tax holiday.
The sales tax holiday is all day through today through midnight Saturday.
Although school supplies are not eligible for the sales tax holiday, shoppers can save on clothing and footwear that cost less than $100 per item.
With the start of school just around the corner, local retailers are preparing for a rush this weekend from parents looking to save on school uniforms.
Sports Center Manager Wyatt Craig said the store would be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. today and Saturday for the tax-free holiday.
Craig said the store sees a steady stream during the tax-free holiday because school uniforms are a back-to-school must.
“It gives people a little out so they don’t have to pay the extra 7 percent,” Craig said.
Roseminette Gaude, owner of Minette’s, said the store will have all hands on deck for the tax-free holiday. Gaude said the store will also have extended hours this weekend.
“We certainly do see a rush every year (during the sales tax holiday),” she said.
The store will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday.
Mechelle Seale said the first couple of years of the sales tax holiday, which was implemented in 2009, were very good at Minette’s, but she said it has since tapered off.
“I think we’ll have a good turnout this year,” Seale said.
Kathy Waterbury, communications director for the Mississippi Department of Revenue, said the highest year for sales tax collections for the entire year in Mississippi was the 2008 fiscal year. When the sales tax holiday went into effect in the 2009 fiscal year, it coincided with the downturn of the economy.
Waterbury said the state sales tax collections in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which ended June 30, saw a positive increase.
“But we’re still not up to the level of sale tax collections that we were in 2008,” she said.
Mississippi’s sales tax holiday always starts on the last Friday of July every year, Waterbury said. She said the state legislation that created the holiday made it a permanent annual event.
Mississippi’s tax-free holiday comes before sales tax holidays in Alabama and Louisiana. Waterbury said when Mississippi legislators created the sales tax holiday, they wanted to beat the neighboring states to the punch.
“Hopefully we’re enticing folks from our neighboring states to come into Mississippi to shop,” she said.
Waterbury said the biggest misconception about the sales tax holiday is how much a shopper can spend.
“You could spend $1 million dollars, if you had it, and it would all be tax-free, as long as each individual item is less than $100,” she said.
According to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, accessories such as jewelry, handbags, wallets, watches, backpacks and similar items do not qualify for the sales tax holiday. Cleats and items worn in conjunction with an athletic or recreational activity are also not eligible. School supplies and computers are also not eligible.
For a complete of tax-free eligible items, visit www.dor.ms.gov.
Louisiana’s tax-free holiday is Aug. 3-4, and Alabama’s tax-free holiday is Aug. 3-5.