Alabama and Florida are holding sales tax holidays for back-to-school items this weekend, but for local bargain hunters, the best deals are close to home.
"I would suggest people in Florida come shop in Alabama," said Nancy Dennis, director of public relations for the Alabama Retail Association.
In comparing the two states' sales tax holidays, Alabama's tax breaks on school-related items are consistently more generous than Florida's. Here's how the two states' sales tax holidays exemptions stack up.
Florida's sales tax holiday:
School supplies up to $15 per item.
Clothing up to $75 per item.
No exemption for computers or books.
Alabama's sales tax holiday:
School supplies up to $50 per item.
Clothing up to $100 per item
Books up to $30 per item.
Computers up to $750 per item
For shoppers looking for the best deals on computers, it may be advisable to wait until next weekend and shop in Georgia during that state's sales tax holiday. Computers will be tax free up to $1,000 per item.
Although school-related items are exempt from taxes during the holiday, which runs from now until Sunday, Alabama Retail Association officials say it does not hamper sales tax collection, as the holiday spurs other shopping for non-exempt items that cancels out the impact of the exempt items. Sales tax collections for August have increased every year the sales tax holiday has been in effect, except for one.
According to the National Retail Federation, back to school shopping is a significant sales event for retailers, second only to Christmas season shopping. The National Retail Federation says that sales of school supplies will top $83 billion this year.
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