Save cash during tax free weekend

Published 9:25 am Thursday, August 6, 2009

Like saving money? Have school supplies to buy?

This weekend is for you in North Carolina.

Thanks to an act of the North Carolina General Assembly, those who shop for school supplies, clothes and computers will not have to pay sales tax from 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Both local legislators – Rep. Annie W. Mobley (D-5th) and Rep. Michael H. Wray (D-27th) – are urging their citizens to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

“The sales tax holiday is important for a multitude of reasons,” Rep. Wray said. “It helps families go out and buy school supplies for their children more affordably and it also can provide a stimulus to our economy. I hope that everyone will go out and shop in their local businesses and enjoy the savings.”

Rep. Mobley agreed.

“This weekend’s sales tax holiday will help North Carolina families better prepare their children for the start of school so they’re able to enter the classroom ready to learn,” she said. “Friday through Sunday will be a great opportunity for families to save some money on necessary back-to-school items while also supporting local businesses.”

The sales tax holiday offers shoppers to save by not paying sales tax on clothing, footwear and school supplies of $100 or less per item; school instructional materials of $300 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item; computers less than $3,500; and computer supplies of $250 or less per item.

All of those supplies are available locally, according to the chambers of commerce in the region.

“I think the sales tax holiday is great for people, especially when they shop locally,” said Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce Director Jerry Castelloe. “If we shop locally, it makes the businesses stronger, which in turn allows them to carry a better inventory and allows us to buy even more at home. This is a great time to shop locally.”

Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce Director Sherry Sullens agreed.

“We need that desperately,” she said. “We need to keep the money in our town and county as much as possible. We encourage everyone to do all the shopping they can in Murfreesboro and Hertford County and keep our money here.”

Sullens also had another idea for shoppers.

“While you’re out shopping for school supplies, when you get hungry, go and eat in our local restaurants,” she suggested. “There is good food right here at home.”

Collins Cooper, the Director of the Windsor-Bertie County Chamber of Commerce, said he hoped residents would also shop locally.

“We have places throughout the Bertie County where you can buy school clothing and supplies,” he said. “I encourage our folks to stay home and shop as much as possible.”

Clothing that is available for the sales tax holiday include items such as uniforms, but also such things as diapers, costumes, formal wear, jogging suits, lab coats, rainwear and baby receiving blankets.

Sport or recreational equipment is also exempt from sales tax as long as it costs $50 or less. Items include gloves (baseball, bowling, boxing, hockey, golf and other sports), shin guards, mouth guards, life perseveres, hand and elbow guards, helmets and cleated or spike athletic shoes.

Computers less than $3,500 qualify for the sales tax holiday along with computer supplies less than $250. The supplies that are available include: computer storage media, handheld electronic schedulers, personal digital assistants, printers and printer supplies such as paper and ink.

School supplies less than $100 per item are part of the holiday. Such items as binders, chalk, book bags, calculators, compasses, composition books, crayons, folders, glue, highlighters, lunch boxes, markers and notebooks qualify.

For a complete list, visit the North Carolina Department of Labor’s website at