The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

July 31, 2013

Last tax-free weekend

Retailers have mixed feelings about upcomiing weekend


TARBORO — Edgecombe County shoppers will have one last chance to buy school supplies for their children free of sales taxes this year. The holiday is also an opportunity for teachers to buy extra instructional materials for their classroom.

This weekend marks the last annual sales tax holiday for the back-to-school season in North Carolina. Established in August 2002, the holiday is ending because of a tax reform measure signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory.

The holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Back-to-school items in Edgecombe County will be exempt from the 4.75 percent state sales tax in addition to the 2 percent local sales and use tax.

“We’re ready,” said Mike Everette, manager of Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store in downtown Tarboro. He gestured to the shelves of Sperry’s, New Balance tennis shoes and ladies’ Danskos, some of the store’s top sellers.

“It does very well. It gets people in the mode to shop and it’s perfect timing,” Everette said, of the back-to-school tax holiday. “I hate that they’re doing away with it.”

Michael Craft of Caroline’s Creations & Unique Gifts, also in downtown Tarboro, said he thinks the tax-free weekend just creates chaos in the retail world.

“I don’t really see where it benefits people that much,” he said. “They’ve got to have that stuff anyway. Now everybody’s trying to buy it all at the same time.”

The main school item that Caroline’s offers shoppers this weekend is monogrammed uniforms.

Jessica Knox went in to Caroline’s to get a monogrammed North East Carolina Prep School sweatshirt for her 5-year-old daughter Katelyn Tuesday morning. Knox said she is disappointed the tax-free weekend is ending this year, so she’ll have to “stock up” this weekend. She plans to buy items for Katelyn, her 3-year-old son Jackson, who will be in preschool this year, and herself. Knox is a nurse for Edgecombe County Public Schools.

“I do buy most of their school stuff on that weekend every year,” Knox said. “All the stores make sure they have super deals going on (in addition to tax free), so you end up saving a lot of money.”

Maxway in downtown Tarboro is prepared for the weekend tax holiday, as well.

“We’ve got the notebooks, the paper, the pencils, the sharpeners, knapsacks. All of our paper, composition books are 75 cents instead of $1,” said assistant manager Steve Joyner. He anticipates more business this tax-free weekend at the store than last year.

“I think it’ll be better, since it’s the last one,” Joyner said. On the other hand, Joyner will be relieved when the tax-free weekend ends, because people often come in the store and say that certain items are school-related and therefore tax exempt when they are not.

“It’s a hassle, so I’m all for it (ending),” he said.

The following items are sales tax exempt this weekend, according to the North Carolina Department of Revenue:

Clothing with a sales price of $100 or less per item.

Sport or recreational equipment with a sales price of $50 or less per item.

School supplies with a sales price of $100 or less per item. Examples are pens, pencils, notebooks, binders and folders.

School instructional materials with a sales price of $300 or less per item. Examples include workbooks and reference maps and globes.

Computers, including tablet computers and netbooks, with a sales price of $3,500 or less per item.

Computer supplies with a sales price of $250 or less per item. Examples are computer printers and computer storage media, including diskettes and compact disks.