If you're in the market for back-to-school clothes and shoes, this coming weekend is the time to make your purchases. Friday, July 31, and Saturday, Aug. 1, clothing and footwear priced under $100 will be exempt from Mississippi's 7 percent sales tax.
The holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday, and continues through midnight Saturday. The $100 threshold applies regardless of the number of items you purchase at the same time, but each item must be separately priced under $100.
Store sales that reduce individual items to less than $100 are eligible, but "averaging" sales (such as "buy one, get one free"), manufacturers coupons and rebates don't make items eligible if the individual items still sell for more than $100. Sets (like a pair of shoes or a uniform) cannot be separated to reduce the price of the items. Stores can offer coupons to reduce prices to make them eligible.
You can order eligible items by mail, phone or via the Internet as long as you pay for them during the tax holiday. Shipping and handling charges, however, are not included, and those charges will not increase the price of an item to make it ineligible. You must pay for your goods during the holiday, so items placed on layaway, or items redeemed with a rain check and paid for after the holiday are ineligible.
Most accessorieslike jewelry, handbags, umbrellas and briefcasesare not eligible, however some are. Eligible accessories include scarves, hats, socks, underwear and belts with attached buckles.
Additional information and the complete, official list of items eligible for the tax holidayand those that are notare on the Mississippi State Tax Commission Web site (http://www.mstc.state.ms.us).
Advocates for the tax holiday say that the state should expand the list of items eligible for the discount. In a Meridian Star editorial, Managing Editor Steve Gillespie writes that school supplies should definitely be added to the list in the future, pointing out that neighboring states offer additional discounts that encourage out-of-state shoppers to travel and shop there.
• Alabama holds its sales tax holiday Aug. 7-8. In addition to clothing up to $100, the holiday includes computers up to $750, school supplies up to $50 and books up to $30.
• Louisiana's holiday, also Aug. 7-8, includes any tangible personal property up to $2,500, excluding automobiles and equipment for businesses. Last year Louisiana added a sales tax holiday weekend at the end of May for hurricane preparedness items up to $1,500.
• Tennessee adds a third day to its holiday, held Aug. 7-9. No sales tax will be charged for clothing up to $100, school supplies up to $100 or computers up to $1,500.
In all, 17 states will hold sales tax holidays in 2009, with several states offering more than one holiday for different purposes. Virginia will have three this year. Most of the holidays span two or three days, but in Washington, D.C., you can buy clothing tax-free from Nov. 27 through Dec. 6, for a total of 17 days.
I am not too excited about the tax holiday. You got to spend $1000 dollars to save a grand total of $70, big whoop.