Sales tax holiday pushes energy efficiency

Showroom consultant Jenny Brantley hangs a sign on an energy-efficient dishwasher advertising the Georgia sales tax holiday at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Showroom Thursday. Friday through Sunday, sales tax will be exempt on items that carry the Energy Star or WaterSense labels.

Georgia’s fifth sales tax holiday on energy and water efficient products begins Friday.

Through Sunday, people can save the sales tax on all appliances for personal use that have the Energy Star label and a price tag of $1,500 or less.

This year, the holiday also extends to water-efficient items that have the WaterSense label. That includes bathroom sink faucets, showerheads and high-efficiency toilets, according to the Georgia Department of Revenue Web site.

Products earn the Water­Sense label when they use at least 20 percent less water without sacrificing performance, according to the WaterSense Web site. Like Energy Star, WaterSense is a partnership program with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The savings could extend beyond the 7 percent sales tax for some homeowners, said area appliance store managers.

For instance, a customer who buys a freezer for $1,000 will save the $70 in sales tax, said Paul Davis Jr. the owner of Davis Appliance & Furniture in Augusta. If the customer is a Georgia Power customer, he could also get a $20 rebate.

Some Energy Star purchases will also qualify for a rebate on 2012 federal income taxes.

Anyone thinking about buying a new appliance “ought to go ahead and get it now,” Davis said.

He said that about 40 percent of the store’s sales are appliances and that the holiday in 2010 boosted sales.

He said a lot of people have said they planned to wait until this weekend to make a purchase.

Joe Smith, the manager of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery on Wrightsboro Road, suggests homeowners buy what suits their homes. Bigger is not always better, he said.

“Sometimes these energy-efficiency products are more expensive, but it does pay for itself in the long run,” he said.

WHAT QUALIFIES

The following products will qualify for the sales tax holiday if they bear the Energy Star or WaterSense label, are for personal use only and have a purchase price of $1,500 or less:

• Air conditioners

• Ceiling fans

• Clothes washers

• Dehumidifiers

• Dishwashers

• Doors

• Fluorescent light bulbs

• Programmable thermostats

• Refrigerators

• Windows

• Bathroom sink faucets

• Faucet accessories (such as aerators)

• High-efficiency toilets

• High-efficiency urinals

• Showerheads

• Weather- or sensor-based irrigation controllers

Note: The tax exemption does not apply to items purchased for trade or business or items rented or leased.

Source: Georgia Department of Revenue

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