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Some retailers to create own tax-free holiday

Posted: July 3, 2017 - 7:08pm

Shoppers may not have to travel to neighboring states to participate in the upcoming tax-free holiday weekend, after Georgia legislators opted to not declare the holiday this year.

Some Columbia County retailers are instead opting to foot the tax bill so their customers can continue the back-to-school tradition. Uptown Cheapskate, Kid-to-Kid and Goodwill locations have all said they plan to offer the tax-free option to customers the weekend of July 28-30.

"That's one of our busiest weekends of the year," said Madison Williams of Uptown Cheapskate in Evans. "I thought it was weird that they weren't doing it this year."

Goodwill's director of marketing and communications, Barry Paschal said their locations will also offer the tax-free option.

"We know our customers enjoy shopping at Goodwill during the tax-free weekends for even greater savings, especially as they're getting ready to send their children back to school," Paschal said. "Because the state isn't doing one, Goodwill is planning to hold our own tax-free weekend where we'll pay the sales tax for our customers."

The Georgia Office of Planning and Budget confirmed via email that lawmakers didn't not approve legislation authorizing the sales tax holiday during the legislative session. The tax-free event was held the last weekend in July, as families geared up for the back-to-school season.

During the tax-free weekend, the Georgia Department of Revenue would make taxes exempt on the purchase of items including computers with a sales price of $1,000 or less per item, clothing (including footwear) with a sales price of $100 or less per item, and school supplies purchased for noncommercial use with a sales price of $20 or less per item.

Local legislator Rep. Barry Fleming said discussions held during the legislative session concluded that the holiday was costing consumers more money.

"They came to the conclusion that consumers were losing actually because of the sales tax holiday," said Fleming. "On the sales tax holiday you pay ‘x' amount for merchandise, and you go the next weekend and it's 30 percent less, so there were no sales, and consumers were buying heavily."

Fleming did say that at one time the holiday did what it was intended to do: save consumers money, but it has since become a habit. Fleming added that he didn't not believe that businesses would be impacted negatively without the holiday and that he did believe the state would look at returning the holiday in the future.

 

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