Back-to-school shoppers take advantage of free sales tax

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Meghan Cabe begins her freshman year at Davidson Fine Arts on Monday and hoped to finish her back-to-school shopping Friday, when many retail items across Georgia were exempt from sales tax.

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Shannon Madison shops for school supplies with Camron Madison, 15, (left) and Kearston Hughes, 8, at the Staples store in Augusta Friday. The sales tax break ends at midnight.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Shannon Madison shops for school supplies with Camron Madison, 15, (left) and Kearston Hughes, 8, at the Staples store in Augusta Friday. The sales tax break ends at midnight.

Cabe and her mother, Lisa Cabe, braved the crowds at Staples on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway to save 8 percent off school supplies at the start of Georgia’s two-day sales tax holiday.

“The lines looked really long, but it only took like five minutes,” Meghan said.

After going through the checkout line, Lisa Cabe said she spent more than $300 on her daughter’s supplies and saved about $25. In their cart were binders, composition notebooks, paper and a graphing calculator.

Meghan, like other pupils in Richmond County, starts class Monday. School resumed in Columbia County on Aug. 6, and in Aiken and Edgefield counties, summer break is over for pupils on Aug. 19.

The South Carolina sales tax holiday was last weekend.

“We actually waited for this one, but last year we went to South Carolina and shopped,” said Lisa Cabe. “It’d be a little bit better if they did it maybe the weekend after school started, in my opinion, because once she starts school we’ll end up coming back for things.”

Grovetown resident Katrina Golden took her lunch break from work to pick up a few supplies at the Target in Augusta Exchange for her children, who started back to school in Columbia County earlier this week. Her daughter is a freshman at Grovetown High School, and her son began seventh grade at Columbia Middle School.

Golden said the sales tax holiday would be more convenient if it fell on the weekend before her children went back to school.

“I would have done all their shopping then,” she said.

Nationwide, back-to-school shopping for K-12 and college combined is expected to reach $72.5 billion, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

More than 70 percent of shoppers make their purchases no sooner than a month before school starts.

In Georgia, buyers don’t have to pay sales tax on clothing and footwear costing $100 or less per item, single purchases of $1,000 or less for personal computers and related accessories as well as general school supplies $20 or less. Items, such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, cellular devices and furniture, are taxable.

The sales tax holiday in Georgia will end at midnight Saturday.


Sales tax exempted for clothing and footwear costing $100 or less per item; single purchases of $1,000 or less for personal computer and related accessories; and general school supplies listed for $20 or less per item.

Taxable items are clothing accessories such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches and watchbands, cellular devices, furniture, and computer-related accessories for recreational use.

The exemption does not apply to items used in a trade, business or for resale; rentals; and sales in theme parks, entertainment complexes, public lodging establishments, restaurants or airports.

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fedex227 08/10/13 - 05:26 pm
Lisa Cabe ...

Like she really needs the beneit of the tax free sales program. Seriously? Get a job, slacker.

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