Tax-free weekend starts this Friday, July 27

F olks have a tendency to forget about the tax-free weekend that starts this Friday at 12:01 a.m. and ends Saturday at 12 midnight.

  The special weekend gives a break to consumers to allow them to purchase some back-to-school items at reduced prices.  The first such tax exemption was allowed in 2009. 

  The idea caught on, and the state legislature now allows a Second Ammendment annual sales tax exemption on firearms and ammunition.  That exemption is set for August 31 and September 1.  I’m not sure about the logic here, but why not give a break to folks who like guns?  Who knows, the next tax holiday may be for meds needed by old, fat white guys.  I am all about that. 

  This weekend the State will allow a tax exemption on qualified items that cost $100 or less.  If the item is $100 you will save $7 from not paying the state sales tax. 

  Items that are included are clothing items such as pants, shirts, blouses, dresses, coats, jackets, belts, hats and undergarments.  Footwear is also included as long as it is not over $100.  So if you were planning to snag some of those high dollar tennis shoes, well, they may not qualify, but the folks who are on a budget or who need shoes for several children should be able to find shoes to meet their needs.  

  Some of the items that are not part of the sales tax exemption include accessories such as jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches, backpacks, and briefcases.  Sorry, skates and rollerblades are not on the list  either. 

   Mississippi allows the exemption only on clothing and footwear whereas other states have much broader exemptions.  Some even include seasonal items important for hurricane preparedness like generators and utility cords. 

    This exemption is not only a boost for tax payers, but it also allows local businesses to capitalize on sales to customers who might otherwise have driven to some of the bigger cities or big box stores for discounts on their back-to-school purchases. 

  Stores are expected to profit from the tax holiday at different rates.  Regional shopping trends say Walmart is expected to get 54 percent of the sales, Best Buy comes in second at 36 percent and JCPenney comes in at 23 percent.  The sales boost  in rural markets will depend on who is offering the best value.  In Simpson County you can bet that Walmart will see the biggest bump, strictly based on the volume of qualified back-to-school merchandise they offer as well as the number of customers they will pull in their doors on any given day. 

   This “holiday” is a good opportunity to stretch your budget a bit and even save a few dollars. 

  See you in the checkout lines!  Just remember the sales end Saturday at midnight.