08/02/07 — Sales tax holiday starts Friday

View Archive

Sales tax holiday starts Friday

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on August 2, 2007 1:45 PM

Buying some items will fill your wallet with sales tax savings this weekend.

But make you sure you watch your receipt.

State lawmakers have made the three-day period starting Friday a sales tax free weekend, designed to help families getting ready to send children back to school.

But if a retailer charges sales tax on an exempt item during the weekend's sales tax "holiday," it's up to the shopper to return to the offending store.

"In order to obtain a refund of tax paid in error, the customer must return to the store with his sales receipt and obtain a refund from the retailer," according to an N.C. Department of Revenue Internet Web site.

What else should the vigilant shopper watch for?

Stores can't say they won't participate, the N.C. Department of Revenue site shows.

"Retailers may only collect from their customers sales taxes that are legally due," the site says. Translation: The sales tax holiday is state law, and is not optional for retailers.

The tax-free holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday, and lasts through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

So what items should you look for on your sales tax-free shopping spree?

Clothing, footwear, and school supplies -- as long as each item costs less than $100.

Sports and recreation equipment is included too, as long as you keep each item under $50.

If you can't think of many sports and recreation items that cost under $50, the Department of Revenue offers some examples:

"Examples of qualifying sport or recreational equipment ... include ballet shoes ... cleats, shin guards, ski boots, shoulder pads, mouth guards and goggles," the state's site says.

This weekend may also be a good time to protect Junior's noggin, the site shows.

"Biking, skating or baseball helmets are exempt," as long as your hard protective hat also costs less than $50.

It may also be time to bite the bullet on the laptop you promised your young one for college -- if sales tax savings are enough to entice you.

Computers less than $3,500 per item are exempt from sales tax, and "computer supplies" of less than $250 count as well.

So what doesn't count?

"Clothing accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, protective equipment, wallets, furniture, items used in a trade or business and rentals," the site says.

Those items will be subject to the sales tax you're used to paying throughout the year.

Home seamstresses also lose out -- although it could be used to make clothes, fabric, thread and yarn remain taxable through the holiday.