Georgia isn’t having a sales tax holiday in 2018, but Alabama’s starts Friday
Published 8:22 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2018
This weekend many Georgians may find themselves hopping the state line in search of back-to-school deals with Alabama’s tax-free weekend, which begins Friday at 12:01 a.m.
This year Georgia will not have a tax-free weekend due to the Georgia legislature failing to pass State House Bill 796. This is the second year in a row that the state has not had a tax-free weekend, with critics claiming that it costs the state too much money. According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, sales tax numbers do not show a significant difference between July 2016, the last year of a tax holiday in Georgia, and July 2017. Troup County saw a $30,000 increase in revenue in Local Options Sales Tax in July 2017 over July 2016 according to sales tax distribution records, but several months throughout the year have similar fluctuations.
Meanwhile, advocates of tax-free weekends argue that the state and businesses lose sales to surrounding states that do have the tax holiday. However, the GDAR’s Sales Tax Distribution Commodity Report showed a negligible difference in general merchandise and other retail sales in a comparison of July 2016 and July 2017.
The tax-free holiday was a popular event among parents, with many waiting to buy school supplies until the tax break. In 2016, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget estimated that the two-day holiday would save Georgians up to $74.5 million. The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce did not have numbers to show how the tax-free weekend impacts local businesses available on Wednesday. Tiger Town in Opelika, Alabama, did not return a request for comment on whether it was expecting an influx of Georgia shoppers this weekend. However, some commented on social media that they plan to shop there this weekend.
For those planning to make the drive to Alabama, here are the items that will be included on in Alabama’s 2018 tax-free weekend:
- Clothing items available tax-free must be $100 or less per article of clothing and includes belts, boots, caps, coats, diapers, dresses, gloves, gym suits, hats, hosiery, jackets, jeans, neckties, pajamas, pants, raincoats, robes, sandals, scarves, school uniforms, shirts, shoes, shorts, socks, sneakers and underwear. Clothing accessories, protective equipment and sports equipment will be taxed at usual rates.
- Computers, computer software and school computer supplies with a single purchase price of $750 or less will also be tax free. According to the Alabama Department of Revenue, for purposes of the exemption, a computer may include a laptop, desktop or tower computer system which consists of a central processing unit and items such as monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers sold as a computer package. Computer parts and devices sold separately will not qualify for the tax exemption, and furniture, non-educational video games and devices intended primarily for recreational use will also be excluded.
- Finally, most items listed on back to school checklists will also be included in the holiday. The school, art and instructional supplies items exempt from Alabama’s sales tax will be binders, blackboard chalk, book bags, calculators, cellophane tape, compasses, composition books, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, highlighters, index cards, index card boxes, legal pads, lunch boxes, markers, paper, pencil boxes and other school supply boxes, pencil sharpeners, pencils, pens, protractors, rulers, scissors, writing tablets, clay and glazes, paints, paintbrushes for artwork, sketch and drawing pads, watercolors, reference maps and globes and required textbooks on an official school book list with a sales price of more than $30 and less than $50.
- The Troup County School System’s back to school supply lists can be found at Troup.k12.ga.us.
Parents of Berta Weathersbee Elementary School students are reminded that students will be required to follow a school uniform policy this year.