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Georgia tax free holiday starts today
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Shopping for clothes, computers or school supplies will cost you 7 percent less for the next four days.

A sales tax holiday designed for back to school shopping began at midnight. While some stores, such as electronics retailer Best Buy, opened for a two-hour sale at the beginning of the holiday, others are bracing for a busy weekend and are hoping that shoppers will capitalize on end-of-the-season markdowns on summer items.

The average family will spend nearly $600 on back-to-school purchases, according to a National Retail Federation estimate. Although anyone can take advantage of the holiday, back-to-school shoppers looking to save money would save $42, based on the average, by purchasing them during the holiday, equaling a significant portion of one visit to the gas pump.

This is the seventh year that Georgia has held a sales tax holiday. Other neighboring states, including Alabama, North and South Carolina and Tennessee, will hold sales tax holidays Friday through Sunday.

"I encourage parents, students and teachers to take advantage of this weekend’s sales tax holiday to purchase those much-needed supplies," said Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. "Past experience shows that many retailers offer
additional discounts and sales that add up to even more savings for back-to-school shoppers."

Public school teachers will again receive a $100 classroom gift card to offset the costs of preparing their classrooms for the new school year. The gift cards will be active from today through Aug. 10, however, state officials are encouraging use of the cards during the sales tax holiday to maximize the spending power of the money.

While the sales tax revenue disappears, more money is likely to be infused in Hall County’s economy this year as a number of discounters now are open at Stonebridge Crossing in Flowery Branch. Stores such as Ross, Kohl’s, Target and TJ Maxx have opened since the 2007 sales tax holiday.

During the sales tax free period, clothing and footwear up to $100 per item are exempt from any sales tax, and there is no limit on the number of shoes and clothing items an individual can buy. If the price of an article of clothing or pair of shoes exceeds $100, the item will be taxed at its full retail price.

Clothing accessories, jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches, watchbands and similar items are not exempt from sales tax during the tax-free period.

School supplies bought for classroom use or classroom related activities are exempt if they cost $20 or less per item.

Included in this area are pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, book bags, calculators, dictionaries, thesauruses, children’s books and books listed on approved school reading lists for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Sales tax will be due on the purchase of any single school supply item that exceeds $20.

Purchases of personal computers and accessories are exempt up to $1,500 per transaction. Items included in the personal computer exemption category include monitors, personal computer base units, keyboards, handheld computers, monitors, printers, modems, nonrecreational software and other peripheral devices.

Personal digital assistants are exempt unless they allow voice communication.

Other items that are not exempt include regular cell phones, digital cameras, furniture and any systems, devices, software or peripherals designed or intended primarily for recreational use.

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