South Carolina sales tax holiday draws shoppers from Georgia

The thought of a sales-tax free shopping trip lured many customers across the Savannah River into North Augusta stores Friday.


Desiree Faulkner was just one Georgia resident who took advantage of the 6 percent savings during the start of South Carolina’s three-day sales tax holiday.

The Savannah resident stopped at Office Depot on Knox Avenue with her mother, who was buying Faulkner’s school supplies before class starts back at Armstrong Atlantic State University on Aug. 12.

“I think it’s great,” said the pre-nursing student. “People can actually plan and save more money.”

Faulkner, whose mother lives in Augusta, had a short commute across the state line. In Savannah, she said the closest South Carolina store was at least 45 minutes away, on Hilton Head Island.

“This is more convenient I think,” she said.

Office Depot manager Keith Landun said he expects to see between 4,000 and 5,000 shoppers in the store this weekend.

In addition, Landun said computers and tablets were popular items for customers profiting from the sales tax exemption.

While sales tax is free on clothing, shoes, school supplies, many electronics, bedding and bath items, other merchandise such as jewelry, cosmetics and furniture are still subject to sales tax.

Just down the street from Office Depot, Kristina Williams was checking off items on her children’s back-to-school lists at Wal-Mart.

Williams traveled from Evans with her 8-year-old son, Christopher, who will begin third grade at Augusta Christian Schools. Her 7-year-old daughter, Alexis, will be
a second-grader at the school.

Because Georgia’s sales tax holiday isn’t until Aug. 9-10, Williams said she made the drive to North Augusta to get her shopping finished before school begins.

“We need to have all the supplies before they start on the 9th,” she said.

Before heading to Wal-Mart, Williams said she also bought clothes at Belk to make the trip worthwhile.

She expects to spend more than $100 on school supplies alone. Her children’s lists included a wide range of school materials such as crayons, pencils, folders, tissues and notebooks.

“I’m trying to recover some of that,” she said. “It’s a significant cost.”

According to a National Retail Federation study, an American family with school-age children will spend an average $635 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics.

Total back-to-school spending this year is predicted to reach $26.7 billion.

The sales tax holiday will continue in South Carolina through midnight Sunday.

School sales tax holidays upcoming

South Carolina’s sales tax holiday continues today through Sunday.

SALES TAX EXEMPTED: Clothing, clothing accessories, footwear, school supplies, computers and software, printers and supplies, bedding, and bath items

TAXABLE ITEMS: Jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches and furniture

NOT APPLICABLE: The exemption does not apply for items placed on layaway or similar payment and delivery plans; clothing or footwear rentals