Originally created 08/04/06

Computers are snatched up at start of sales tax holiday



For Leslie Yanizeski, it was like getting a free printer.

She was one of eight people who showed up at Office Depot on Thursday morning before the store opened to take advantage of Georgia's sales tax holiday. The store extended its hours, opening an hour earlier and staying open an hour later to accommodate shoppers, yet still they came before doors opened, officials said.

And when they did open, most customers darted for the computer aisle, where Ms. Yanizeski said her computer purchase netted her enough savings to add a printer to her shopping cart.

A year ago, Theodore Tutson bought a desktop computer for his daughter Charmaine, a student at Tusksegee University in Alabama. This year, they were in line at Office Depot, arriving at 6:30 a.m., a half-hour before the store opened, to buy a laptop computer.

Computers were the big-ticket item for many shoppers. For the length of the holiday, shoppers are spared taxes on computers and accessories of $1,500 or less.

Home Depot Manager George Moore said that means all but one of the store's computers are tax free.

Jessica Borum, 17, and her father checked around but waited until Thursday to buy a computer to avoid the taxes.

The sales tax holiday also covers school supplies, clothing, computer accessories and energy-efficient items.

With the exhaustive list of tax-exempt items, shoppers should keep in mind what is on the list and what is not.

Raincoats and ponchos, for example, are tax exempt, while umbrellas are taxable.

Backpacks purchased as school supplies are tax exempt, but backpacks purchased as clothing apparel are not.

You'll save on diapers, but not diaper bags. Children's books are tax free. Textbooks, however, are not.

That comes as a nasty surprise to shoppers at the Augusta State University bookstore, Director of Business Services Karl Munschy said.

"It's especially frustrating when you can drive 25 miles in that direction," he said of South Carolina, where textbooks are always tax free.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

STILL TIME TO SAVE


Georgia's sales tax holiday started at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and continues until midnight Sunday. South Carolina's holiday started at 12:01 a.m. today. Some stores are open special hours, including:


Office Depot: Opens an hour earlier and closes an hour later


Macy's: 8 a.m. to midnight today and Saturday


Circuit City: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday


CompUSA: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Saturday


Office Max: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday