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Schools, stores prepare for last full week of summer
Class begins Aug. 12
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Logan Howard, 11, a rising sixth-grader at East Hall Middle School, shops for back-to-school clothes on Friday at Belk in Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Georgia sales tax holiday

What: Certain clothing, computers and school supply items have no sales tax tacked on to the purchase.

When: Friday and Saturday

Clothing exclusions: Certain items such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, baby accessories and cosmetics are still taxable. Clothing, including footwear, must be $100 or less per item. Items over $100 will be taxed.

Electronics exclusions: Single purchases of $1,000 or less on personal computers and personal computer-related accessories are acceptable. Anything over $1,000, or unrelated to personal computers, will be taxed.

School supply exclusions: General school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less per item will be tax-exempt. Books, envelopes, janitorial supplies, medical supplies, trade/business supplies and briefcases will be taxed.

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It’s the last full week before school begins, which means stores are preparing for an influx of pint-sized shoppers and their guardians, especially this upcoming weekend as the state holds a sales tax holiday.

Registration is also underway at the Hall County and Gainesville City school systems, as well, with middle and high school students beginning registration for their classes today in Hall County.

“The kids can get their schedules (now),” said Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “They come and check in and get their schedules and work out what they’re going to do.”

Those registrations take place at the student’s individual school.

In the Gainesville system, registration for coming into the school system takes place at Wood’s Mill Academy, and will go throughout this week, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Wood’s Mill is the registration center for all Gainesville schools throughout the year.

For new registration, the schools need copies of the student’s birth certificate and Social Security card. The parent or guardian must also bring in a proof of residency, including a complete and recent utility bill.

The Georgia immunization form and vision/hearing/dental screening form must also be completed.

The school will also need a copy of the parent or guardian’s photo identification.

“It’s an exciting time for all of us,” Barron said. “It’s exciting for the boys and girls. They look forward to being back with their friends and getting back into the routine of school.”

The students also look forward to shopping for supplies and clothes.

“I’m getting shorts for gym,” said Nicholas Beasley, who is going into the ninth grade at Chestatee High School this year. “(I like) getting some new clothes.”

Beasley said he hadn’t purchased actual school supplies yet, but probably had some left over from the last school year.

Eva Bell, a cafeteria worker at Centennial Arts Academy, was purchasing school supplies for two of her granddaughters and a niece last week. She said that it’s easy to save money on supplies, but it’s important to look for deals when shopping for clothes.

She said the tax-free holiday would be when they would stock up on new clothes.

“That’s probably when their mothers will carry them shopping for the clothes and shoes and things like that,” she said with a laugh.

The sales-tax-free holiday weekend is Friday and Saturday, and covers clothing, personal computers and school supplies. Certain items are still taxable, and clothing must be less than $100 per item, electronics purchases must be $1,000 or less per item, and individual school supply purchases cannot exceed $20.

J.C. Penney and Belk at Lakeshore Mall are just two stores gearing up for the weekend with sales and events.

“With school starting that Monday, obviously the tax-free weekend is coming just at the right time,” said Paul Shires, J.C. Penney store leader.

J.C. Penney is offering $10 kids haircuts during the month of August.

Belk is hosting a Kids Fest in the mall this Saturday, allowing kids to be in a fashion show with their back-to-school clothing choices.

“We do generally see more traffic on tax-free (holiday),” said Lisa Lassiter, Belk regional vice president.

While people may plan to take advantage of saving a few extra dollars over the tax-free holiday, Salli Hutton, who was shopping for school supplies for her grandchildren last week, will be avoiding the stores.

“I’ve heard it’s like Black Friday,” Hutton said. “So I think I probably don’t want to do that. Just check the sales, start early and try to avoid the crowds if you can!”

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