07/31/05 — Sales Tax Holiday begins Friday

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Sales Tax Holiday begins Friday

By Turner Walston
Published in News on July 31, 2005 2:03 AM

Vacations will soon be ending and thoughts will turn to books and teachers and shopping for school supplies.

As summer slips into fall, parents can ease the transition by purchasing school items tax-free this coming weekend.

North Carolina's fourth annual Sales Tax Holiday takes place from Friday through Sunday, Aug. 7.

Clothing, footwear and school supplies of $100 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item; and computers of $3,500 or less per item will be exempt from state sales taxes.

Sales of items by mail order, telephone or Internet are eligible for the exemption, as long as the customer orders and pays for the item in the holiday period. Actual delivery of ordered items can take place after the holiday period, according to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Kim Brooks, public information officer with the Department of Revenue, said the General Assembly initially introduced the holiday weekend to give parents a break when shopping for school supplies.

"Of coursenit doesn't just apply to parents buying for their kids," she said. Ms. Brooks noted that all shoppers will receive the discount on exempt items. She said to expect lots of advertisements as merchants prepare for the holiday weekend.

"I think it's a good time for merchants, and it's certainly a good time for consumers," Ms. Brooks said.

Jason Hamm, a manager at Staples, said the store has been busily preparing for the holiday weekend. Business is already picking up for back-to-school season, he said, but he expects next weekend to bring even more.

"You can tell that our business is picking up gradually," Hamm said. "I would say 75 percent of the clientele is waiting for tax-free."

Customers know that the holiday weekend is coming, and hold off on most purchases until then, Hamm said. Parents will probably be buying personal computers for their children, thanks to bundled deals, he added.

Hamm said the store would have more employees to help manage the additional customer flow.

"We'll have probably an extra two people per department more than what we normally have. Probably six extra bodies in here, compared to what we normally do," he said.

At Target, Brooks McLeod said he thinks clothing will be among the most sought-after items during the tax-free weekend. A lot of customers are doing their back-to-school shopping early, McLeod said.

Still, he expects big crowds.

"We almost double our staffing for that weekend. It's one of our busiest times of the year. That weekend almost goes along with the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve," he said.

McLeod said Target is discounting general school supplies such as paper, binders and pens now, but will be able to advertise sales for more specific items when schools issue their supplies lists.

"People usually wait until the school lists come out for things such as graphing calculators," he said. "A lot of people are really coming in and looking at the things they know they'll need."

For more information on the sales tax holiday, visit the North Carolina Department of Revenue's web site at http://www.dornc.com.