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Shoppers take advantage as sales tax holiday continues
Heath and Bonnie Stanley of Blue Ridge browse through a clothes rack Friday at Belk. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

Georgia Tax Holiday Today

Items that are exempt from state and local sales and use taxes include:
Clothing or footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item
Personal computers and computer-related accessories with a sales price of $1,000 or less
General school supplies to be used in the classroom with a sales price of $20 or less per item

Items not exempt from sales tax include:
Clothing accessories, jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches, cellular devices, furniture, recreational computer accessories, cosmetics, digital cameras, MP3 players, books (except for children’s books, dictionaries or thesauruses), CDs or DVDs, televisions, gaming systems and accessories, medical supplies and other items

Anne Marie Langley sorted through a rack of men’s shirts picking out her new husband’s favorite colors and draping them over her arm.

“We’re in college so we need to save as much money as possible,” Langley of Cleveland said Friday afternoon while she pulled a blue shirt from the rack inside Belk at Lakeshore Mall. “Every little bit helps.”

She and her husband, Brandon Langley, are seniors in college. So to stretch their dollars they said they saved all their back-to-school shopping for the tax holiday this weekend.

This is the first time since 2009 that the state has offered a sales tax holiday for back-to-school items.

“With the money we save we’ll get to eat an extra meal today probably,” Brandon Langley said laughing.

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget estimates the two-day holiday will save Georgia shoppers as much as $66 million. The holiday started at 12:01 a.m. Friday and will last until midnight tonight.

“The reinstated sales tax holiday is an opportunity for Georgia families to fulfill some of their needs as our students go back to school,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in a news release. “While our state’s economy continues to grow, we will continue to work in a pro-family and pro-business manner to lessen the burden on Georgia taxpayers.”

According to the National Retail Federation, 85 percent of shoppers say the economy will impact how they make their school supply purchases.

The average family with school-aged children is estimated to spend $688 on school supplies this year, the federation survey said.

Meredith McConnell of Clarkesville took her children shopping Friday afternoon so they could take advantage of the back-to-school sales and the tax holiday.

Her children won’t start school until next week so the timing of the holiday worked well with their schedule. But some parents in Hall County and Gainesville school systems were upset with the timing since school started back on Friday.

“I know I talked to some of my friends who go to school in this area and they were kind of disappointed ... since school started already,” McConnell said.

She said even though her family still needs to pick up some basic school supplies, the tax holiday seems to have helped a little bit, at least with their clothing purchases.

“They tell you the difference when they ring you up, and they actually give you the before tax and the after; all together I saved about $15,” McConnell said smiling.


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