July 30--Alabama's sales tax holiday is set for this weekend, and a record number of communities in the state are participating in the event, which exempts school-related items from sales tax.
According to the Alabama Retail Association, about 280 communities are joining with the state in exempting certain school supplies and clothing from sales tax between 12:01 a.m. Friday and midnight Sunday. The state has sponsored sales tax holidays for eight years.
Alabama Retail Association research shows that Alabamians will spend about $1.4 billion on school clothes, computers and supplies. Nancy Dennis, Alabama Retail Association president, said the average Alabama family spends about $600 on school supplies, making a sales tax break welcome relief.
"If you're shopping in Montgomery with a 10 percent rate, that's $60," Dennis said. "It's just a good way to save."
Although it would seem that the sales tax holiday would result in less money coming into state coffers, sales tax collections have risen each August the tax holiday has been in effect, except for in 2009 during the depths of the Great Recession.
Dennis said sales tax revenues are expected to grow 1 percent this August. She said increased spending on non-exempt items by Alabama shoppers hitting the stores during the tax holiday contributed to the increases in state revenues.
Dawn Davis, a fourth grade teacher at Montana Magnet School, said the sales tax holiday is helpful for teachers, who often must pay for supplies for their classrooms out of their own pockets. Davis said she spends between $300 and $600 for supplies each year, and the holiday helps her stretch her buying power.
"We have to have supplies for when the children come back on the first day," she said. "Many students come to school without supplies and we can't waste a day."
Local areas participating:
Clothing, up to $100 per item.
Computers, including tablets and e-readers, up to $750 per item.
Computer supplies and software, up to $750 per item. Excludes video games.
Books, up to $50 per item.
School supplies, up to $50 per item, including pens, binders, paper, crayons, pens, protractors, etc.
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