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Sales tax holiday ends Sunday

The 2006 Georgia Tax-Free Holiday is coming this weekend with a few changes for the better. The week-end of shopping without paying sales tax began at 12:01 a.m. today and ends at midnight Sunday.

The holiday has been a popular weekend for back-to-school shoppers for approximately five years, and the 2006 holiday will also benefit consumers who want to update their appliances.

During this weekend, shoppers will not have to pay local or state sales tax on the purchase of school supplies, clothing items, computers and accessories, and energy efficient products. The holiday combines last year's two tax-free shopping periods into one four-day period.

According to the Georgia tax website, energy efficient products include appliances, light bulbs, doors and windows that meet or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy's requirements for energy efficiency.

"It's a good time, because we are starting our August clearance sale," said Will Cunningham, the manager of Badcock & More in Thomson. "Those Energy Star deals are earmarked, so we know what they are. What we have, we will have them marked, so everybody will know (they are tax exempt)."

Another new twist this year is the state has provided $100 gift cards for teachers to buy supplies for their classroom during the holiday. In a press release, Governor Sonny Perdue said teachers often spend money out of their own pockets to buy their supplies, and the gift card was "another tool" to help them.

"I really liked it," Thomson Elementary School Teacher Nicole Gay said. "The school supplies most of our necessity stuff, but I will use the gift card to get fun things like decorations. I spent more last year than I intended to, so it will come in real handy."

The holiday comes a little late for McDuffie residents and teachers, since the first day of school was Monday, July 31.

"(The gift card) was wonderful, it was a nice incentive," said Stephanie Hawkins, another teacher at Thomson Elementary. "But I really wish I could've used it before school started."

McDuffie School Superintendent Mark Petersen said he feels a lot of folks will wait for the weekend to do their shopping, even though the students will have been in school for five days.

School supplies that cost up to $20 per item can be purchased sales tax free. Clothes and shoes are exempt up to $100 per item, but there is no limit on the number of items that can be purchased. Computers and accessories up to $1,500 are exempt from sales tax.

The exemption is intended only for the personal use of individuals. A complete list of exempt items is available on the Internet at the Department of Revenue web site:

What's in - What's out

Energy Efficient Product Holiday Requirements:

  • Tax exempt energy efficient products are those that are earmarked with an Energy Star label.

  • The list includes dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, refrigerators, skylights, doors and windows.

  • Only items with a sales price of $1,500 or less are tax exempt.

    School Supplies:

  • Tax exempt school supplies are items with a sale price of $20 or less. There is no monetary limit on the purchase, as long as each individual item costs less than $20.

  • Tax exempt items include pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, calculators, dictionaries, thesauruses, book bags and books on approved school reading lists.

  • Items that are NOT exempt include books, briefcases, envelopes and janitorial supplies.

    Clothing requirements:

  • Any item priced at $100 or less. There is no limit of items.

  • The list includes all clothing items, outerwear and underwear, graduation caps and gowns, school and scout uniforms, sport uniforms, cleated footwear, knee pads, shin guards, helmets, batting/golf/tennis/leather/garden and rubber gloves, coveralls, lab coats and martial arts attire.

  • Also included are unusual "school" items, such as bowling shoes, roller blades, tuxedos, corsets, diapers, lingerie and hunting vests.

  • Items that are NOT exempt include clothing accessories such as handbags, umbrellas, cuff links, handkerchiefs, jewelry, key cases, wallets, watches and watch bands, and ponytail holders and/or similar hair products.

    Computer requirements:

  • Purchases of personal computers and accessories are exempt up to $1,500 per transaction.

  • Items included are monitors, personal computer base units, keyboards, handheld computers, printers, modems, non-recreational software, cords and Personal digital assistants (unless they allow voice communication).

  • The exemption does not require the purchase of a personal computer base unit, and is extended to peripheral devices such as modems, printers, and speakers. (A printer or scanner may be purchased and exempt without the purchase of a computer.)

  • If a single purchase exceeds the $1,500 maximum the entire purchase is taxable. A single purchase is considered the total of all sales made to a customer in one visit to a store.

  • This category does not include cell phones, digital cameras or furniture.

    Web posted on Wednesday, August 2, 2006

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