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Hartselle Enquirer

City, county joining in inaugural tax-free holiday

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
Soaring gas prices, higher costs at the grocery store and the monthly sticker shock that comes with your utility bill – everywhere you turn now days, someone has their hand out and in your wallet.
But, just in time for back-to-school, shoppers will soon get some relief in the form of a tax-free holiday. Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 4 and ending at midnight on Aug. 6, Alabama will hold its first sales tax holiday. The holiday gives shoppers relief on some taxes on certain school supplies, computer and clothing.
As an added bonus, Hartselle and Morgan County are both joining in the sales tax holiday, meaning shoppers will be able to skip the city and county sales taxes, too.
Hartselle shoppers currently pay 8 percent sales tax, with 3 percent going to the city, 1 percent to the county and 4 percent to the state.
All retailers are required to participate on eliminating sales taxes on the covered items.
Generally, the holiday allows sales-tax free purchases on clothing up to $100 per item, computers, software and computer supplies up to $750 per item, school supplies and textbooks up to $50 per item and all other books up to $30 each.
But it's not just items for students that are covered. As long as the items meet the state guidelines, it doesn't matter for whom they are purchased.
Covered clothing includes all items deemed by the state to be "suitable for general use." They include belts, boots, caps, coats, gym suits, pajamas, and underwear. Tennis shoes under $100 are also tax exempt.
Belt buckles, briefcases, makeup, purses, jewelry, sewing equipment, sunglasses and umbrellas will be taxed.
Protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety or tool belts or breathing masks will be taxed. Sports equipment, such as athletic shoes, gloves, or goggles are not exempt during the tax holiday.
Computers and some software up to $750 per items will be tax exempt. This includes diskettes, personal digital assistants and printers. It does not include furniture designed to hold computers or non-educational video games.
Almost all school supplies up to $50 will be covered. Included are the back-to-school basics such as book bags, notebooks, calculators, crayons, paper, glue and lunch boxes.
It also includes art items such as clay and glazes, paints, paintbrushes, sketchpads and watercolors. Reference maps and globes are also covered.
Required textbooks on an official schoolbook list with a sales price between $30 and $50 are also covered.
The tax holiday doesn't cover magazines or newspapers.
What about exchanges?
If you purchase something during the tax holiday and then need to exchange it, you can do so without paying additional money, as long as it is for a different size or color of the same item.
Rainchecks don't apply. That is, you can't get a credit for an item during the sales tax exemption weekend and then purchase it tax free at a later time.
If you receive a raincheck for the item before the sales tax free weekend and then purchase it during the weekend, you won't pay taxes.
What about layaways?
If you have items on layaway before the sales tax weekend and then make the final payment and pick up the items during the weekend, you won't pay taxes on the final payment for qualifying items.
Items put on layaway during the sales tax holiday and picked up after the holiday don't qualify for tax exemption.
Gift certificates and gift cards
Tax won't be charged for qualifying items purchased with a gift card during the tax-free holiday.
What about returns?
* For a period of 60 days after the sales tax holiday, no credits for taxes will be issued for qualifying items unless a person presents receipts showing the tax was paid.