A tax-free weekend that New Mexico retailers and shoppers alike often refer to as "The Black Friday of summer" kicked off Friday as the state's Back to School Tax Free Holiday 2012 gives parents, students, teachers, and education supporters the chance to purchase select items -- at select price limits -- without paying New Mexico's gross receipts tax.
The Taxation and Revenue Department estimates that retail sales statewide increase by up to $25 million during the weekend while New Mexicans save a total of about $4 million.
"Anyone can take advantage of this offer but it's basically aimed at helping families buy school supplies for the year," said Taxation and Revenue Department spokesman S.U. Mahesh. "I know people who go as early as midnight Friday to stores to buy supplies for their kids and stock up on materials for the rest of the school year."
The tax-break shopping spree, which will save city of Santa Fe residents about 8.1875 percent in gross receipts tax, started at midnight Friday and runs through midnight Sunday, Aug. 5. During that period nontaxable items include clothing and footwear up to $100, school supplies (pen, paper, pads, and other class-room items) up to $30, assorted computer equipment up to $500, and computers up to $1,000. The price limits refer to each specific item and not the total amount spent for all purchases.
Most stores will post signs clarifying which items are tax-free, for sometimes shoppers think it's an "anything goes" type offer and inadvertently attempt to purchase food or nonperishable items under the deal.
Most retailers are reluctant to state how the three-day tax-break deal impacts sales or shopper attendance, though Santa Fe Place's marketing director, Jolene Mauer, said, "It is a big weekend for us; second to Black Friday [the day after Thanksgiving] and the holiday season. It's the perfect time for people to buy back-to-school supplies and clothes, so everybody hits the mall. There's always a bump."
To that end, the mall schedules public events including fashion shows and public raffles, she said.
Steve Branch, store manager for Kmart on St. Michael's Drive, said he's already encountering customers who are asking about the tax-free holiday period. "Each year more people take advantage of it," he said. "You see all different kinds of people, including grandparents, looking for something to help their grandkids and college students. If they can save a little money on the back end of the sale, they will do it."
If the Kmart store runs out of a specific supply that shoppers want, he said, customers can order it online and still take advantage of the tax break, he said, as long as they pay for the item in advance.
Wal-Mart spokesperson Molly Philhours said such tax-weekend holidays offer extra incentives for Wal-Mart customers to save money. "For some, saving $10 in taxes can mean a new backpack or outfit for their children," she said.
This year's event marks its eighth birthday since former Gov. Bill Richardson signed it into law as part of a larger tax-break package in 2005.
Most Popular Stories
- Social Media Campaign Increases Organ Donor Registrations
- Airport Garners Social Media Award
- What Will Happen When Quantitative Easing Ends?
- MillerCoors Taps New Hispanic Ad Agency
- Immigration Reform Would Decrease U.S. Budget Deficit
- Aetna Leaving California's Individual Health Insurance Market
- Calories Count: Starbucks to Post the Numbers on Menu Boards
- Tea Party Wants to 'Audit the IRS'
- Honda Says Sorry About the Lack of Electric Fits
- Patriots' Aaron Hernandez Questioned in Slaying