Georgia’s back-to-school sales tax holiday begins today and will run through tomorrow. It’s the first sales tax free holiday since 2009 when the state stopped the eight-year tradition to save an estimated $12 million in lost revenue after the economy took a nose dive. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal reinstated the shopping incentive this year.
According to the National Retail Federation, parents are expected to spend an average of $688.62 on clothes, electronics and school supplies per child. This is an $85 increase from 2011 and rounds out the national total for one year at nearly $84 billion.
The Valdosta Mall plans to cash in on that business and is even offering additional incentives to get shoppers in the door. It’s called Bonus Bucks and it gives a $10 mall gift card for every $150 that a customer spends between August 10 and 11.
Individual stores in the mall are also following the extra incentive trend. Envy, a trendy and popular clothing store for women, has created a sale room where shoppers can find additional deals and is even offering an extra 10 percent off on all Judith March clothing.
“We’re having a trunk show this weekend,” said Envy owner Joanna Jones.
Jones has been in the Valdosta Mall for four years now and is well-versed on the chaos that comes with tax-free weekends and back-to-school shopping.
“After today we are fully stocked and have back-up in the back,” said Jones. “By Monday, half of it will be gone.”
While getting nearly all your stock bought out is a wonderful problem for a local business to
have, Jones stated that she and her staff are well prepared to meet every customer’s need.
“We’re prepared for it,” said Jones. “ And we’re excited!”
Newcomer to the tax-free crowd is Klutch, a chic clothing store for men and women in the mall.
“We’re fully stocked and ready to go,” said Klutch co-owner Lisia Bjorklund.
As not every item is eligible for the tax free exemption, Bjorklund and fellow owner Larry Hall are offering 7 percent off on anything that is not tax free.
“We’re offering a savings on everything,” said Bjorklund.
So what items are tax exempt? Clothes and shoes that cost less than $100 an item are exempt from sales tax as well as school supplies that cost less than $20 an item. Personal computers and accessories that cost less than $1,000 per purchase are exempt.
You have to pay the sales tax on clothes, shoes and school supplies that cost more than the tax-free limit.
Additional tax exempt clothing items include: athletic gear and clothing, including shin guards, skates, uniforms, belts for weightlifting or back support, football pads, helmets, bathing suits and athletic supporters.
Tax exempt computers, $1,000 or less, and accessories include: monitors, mouses, hard drives, keyboards, routers, scanners, speakers, zip drives, modems, non-recreational software (word processing, financial, educational, etc.), batteries, printer cartridges, computer cables, e-book readers, and computer cables.
For a complete list of tax exempt items, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue website at www.etax.dor.ga.gov.