Retailers across the state are preparing for big business this weekend as Alabama holds its 10th annual back-to-school sales tax holiday, beginning Friday.
Throughout the weekend, consumers can buy school-related items, including school supplies, computers and clothing, without having to pay the state’s 4 percent sales tax or participating counties’ and cities’ sales tax. This year, a record 304 local governments – 245 cities and 59 counties – are taking part in the sales tax holiday.
From 12:01 a.m. Friday until midnight Sunday, taxes will be waived on:
• Clothing priced at $100 or less.
• School supplies valued at $50 or less.
• Books costing $30 or less, or textbooks costing $50 or less.
• Computers and computer equipment priced at $750 or less.
According to the Alabama Retail Association, the average family with school-age children in the South is expected to spend $627.01 on back-to-school items, while families with college-age children are expected to spend $961.22. During the tax holiday weekend, the average Alabama family could save close to $63 and those with college-age children could save as much as $96.
The goal is to help families with children headed back to the classroom, but everyone receives the tax break. The Retail Association estimates that Alabamians will spend almost $1.02 billion on back-to-school purchases this year. The sales tax holiday is a big weekend for retailers, particularly those that exclusively sell items included in the tax exemption, such as shoe or clothing stores, said Nancy Dennis, spokeswoman for the Alabama Retail Association.
Cindy Weninger, manager of Jack ‘N Jill Shop, a children’s clothing store in downtown Homewood, said the back-to-school tax holiday does bigger business than Black Friday after Thanksgiving. Jack ‘N Jill also owns the neighboring Sikes Children’s Shoes, which Weninger said draws similar numbers during the tax-free weekend.
“This is much, much bigger for us than Black Friday. Malls get the big business for Black Friday, but for us, this weekend and the week before Easter are the big money-makers,” Weninger said.
She said she has extra employees working Friday and Saturday – both stores are closed on Sundays – and, like many other retailers, will have sales on tax-free items to attract shoppers.
“We have up to 70 percent off some of our clothing and shoes, and we are sending out an email to our customers offering an extra 10 percent off in addition to the sales tax exemption,” Weninger said. “So this is really a great weekend to come shop and stock up on those back-to-school outfits and shoes.”