The annual three-day affair may coincide with the back-to-school spending rush, but it's not just students and their parents who benefit from tax savings on school supplies, clothing and computers.
The list of qualifying items is diverse, offering a break for shoppers of all ages and interests, and luring participating retailers as different as Target and
Qualifying items include school supplies less than
But New Mexicans clearly look beyond pencils and protractors: The state
Big-ticket items such as computers drive much of the savings, and it's not just the back-to-school crowd taking advantage.
"I think families are probably buying more clothes and school supplies," she said. "But anybody who knows about the tax holiday and is in the market for a computer is thinking, 'Hmmm. I can save quite a bit.'"
Petranovich said her store's retail sales spike 30 percent during the tax holiday.
In fact, demand is so high and the crowds so thick that the store allows customers to pre-shop. They can visit early, pick out the merchandise they want, provide a credit-card number, and Computer Corner will wait to process the invoice until the actual tax holiday.
And who does the computer shopping this time of year?
Just about everybody, Petranovich said. Even businesses seize the opportunity to buy taxfree.
"There's no restrictions as to how many they can buy," she said. "Maybe they need to refresh 10 computers for their employees."
Families, meanwhile, may be swarming the mall.
Clothing and shoe shopping help make Coronado Center a major hot spot during the first weekend in August.
"There is no doubt that we see an increase in family shopping and have a strong showing of outof-town families who drive up to four hours to the Duke City," said
He rates the tax-free weekend as one of the 10 busiest of the year at the center.
Coronado has been a popular destination every August for many years, but the 2005 introduction of tax-free shopping has boosted back-to-school traffic by 30-40 percent, Sanchez said.
And the crowds may not all be outfitting themselves for school. The list of tax-free clothing items is a long one.
It includes basics like blouses and jeans, jackets and earmuffs, boots and hats.
But it also encompasses fur stoles, jogging bras and leotards.
Have more specific interests? Bowling shirts, chef's uniforms and golf clothes are also exempted.
Sanchez said mall retailers often sweeten the tax-free deal with special sales on qualifying merchandise.
"This is a perfect opportunity for retailers to clear the shelves of spring/summer merchandise and launch the new fall season," he said.
And yet not everyone will rush out to the stores come Friday morning.
"It's only 7 percent (savings)," she said, estimating that she spends roughly
She tried the tax-free shopping years ago, wasn't impressed and no longer buys much that weekend.
"Actually, not many of my friends do it that time, (either)," she said.
Qualifying merchandise includes:
Clothing or shoes priced less than
School supplies less than
Desktop, laptop and notebook computers
For a more specific list of taxable and nontaxable items, go to www.tax. newmexico.gov, click on "Forms and Publications" and click on "Bulletins" under the Publications heading
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