• 57°

Take a break from sales tax this weekend

The back-to-school sales tax holiday in Mississippi is upon us.

As of 12:01 a.m., shoppers are entitled to a tax exemption on purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear made through 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

The “holiday” is a temporary period when sales taxes are not collected or paid on purchases of specific products and or services. In the Magnolia State, that’s a 7 percent savings.

Officials with the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce are hopeful shoppers will head out today and save money during the tax-free holiday.

“The Chamber strongly encourages our community to visit our many local clothing and shoe stores this weekend to take advantage of the Mississippi’s tax-free days on all shoes and clothes,” said program director Katie Nations. “Even if you’re not buying school clothes, shoppers of all ages can benefit from the tax-free incentive and get some great deals.”

Some of Debbie Smith’s customers at Judy’s II wait until this designated weekend to shop for back-to-school items.

“It’s always good for me,” she said. “I think people put off buying until then. Seven percent isn’t a lot, but it helps.”

Smith said she combines a back-to-school sale with the tax-free event to give customers an added incentive to shop.

“We always have a very busy weekend,” she said. “I’ve had several come in an look and they’re going to come in when they don’t have to pay tax on it.”

The sales tax holiday will apply statewide to all consumer purchases of clothing and footwear with sales prices of less than $100 per article during the two-day period from early Friday morning to late Saturday night. During that time, sales taxes will not be collected or paid on any article of clothing or footwear if the sales price of a single item is less than $100 and as long as that item is among the eligible products. A complete list of eligible and non-eligible items are available at www.dor.ms.gov by searching “Annual Clothing Sales Tax Holiday Guide.”

The list is the same as it was when the the Legislature passed House Bill 348 in 2009. It has not changed, said DoR spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury.

Eligible items like cowboy boots and bow ties won’t have a tax attached if purchased in that two-day window, but items like backpacks, purses and watches will be taxed. Baseball jerseys are eligible, but not baseball cleats. Hats are. Headbands are not. It’s important to check the list.

Heidelburg did not participate in the statewide event last year, but are on board for 2017.

“I think this is the first year that all the communities are participating,” Waterbury said. “Everybody’s all in.”

Accessories do not qualify for the sales tax holiday. That includes jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets and similar items.