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Shoppers gear up for annual tax-free weekend

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Shoppers are gearing up for the annual South Carolina sales tax-free weekend, taking place Friday through Sunday.

From midnight Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, consumers will be exempt from paying sales tax on a list of preapproved items, mostly school supplies and items needed to outfit a college dorm room. Click here for a list of tax-exempt items.

“This sales tax holiday is important to the state’s consumers and business owners as well as the retail market and overall economy. It’s a great way for hard-working families to save money, but it also gives a boost to our state retailers,” said Rebecca Leach, executive director of the S.C. Retail Association.

Leach said on average, families spend about $700 per child buying the items they need to go to elementary or high school each year. Parents who are sending their kids off to college spend about $970 per child.

In addition to changing their point-of-sale terminals to properly charge the correct sales tax rate on exempt items, state retailers will need to be familiar with which items are on the tax-exempt list. Leach said most retailers, including those based out of state, are aware of the temporary exemption and are prepared for it.

“The state of South Carolina has had the sales tax holiday in place since 2000, so for almost 19 years now, so I think that our retailers have learned what to expect and learn how to adjust their systems to be able to accommodate,” she said.

The S.C. Department of Revenue wants retailers to track exempt sales so the department can more accurately report total sales and receive a better understanding of the holiday’s impact. Retailers can report tax-free weekend exempt sales by clicking here.

“We’re happy to have the opportunity to offer a sales tax-free weekend that benefits retailers and customers,” Bonnie Swingle, DOR spokeswoman, said. “Parents and teachers can save money on important back-to-school items, and at the same time, retailers may experience increased traffic.”

Reach Renée Sexton at 803-726-7546.

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