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South Carolina sales tax holiday draws shoppers from Georgia

Posted: August 7, 2013 - 11:39am
Haleigh Timmons, 12, laughs with her mother, Jolene Timmons, at Office Depot in North Augusta.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Haleigh Timmons, 12, laughs with her mother, Jolene Timmons, at Office Depot in North Augusta.

The thought of a sales-tax-free shopping trip lured many customers across the Savannah River into North Augusta stores Friday.

Desiree Faulkner was one Georgia resident who took advantage of the savings during the South Carolina’s three-day sales tax holiday.

The Savannah resident stopped at Office Depot on Knox Avenue with her mother, who was buying Faulkner’s school supplies before class starts back at Armstrong Atlantic State University on Monday.

“I think it’s great,” said the pre-nursing student. “People can actually plan and save more money.”

Faulkner, whose mother lives in Augusta, had a short commute across the state line. In Savannah, she said the closest South Carolina store was at least 45 minutes away, on Hilton Head Island.

“This is more convenient, I think,” she said.

Office Depot manager Keith Landun said computers and tablets were popular items. Though sales tax was free on clothing, shoes, school supplies, many electronics, bedding and bath items, other merchandise such as jewelry, cosmetics and furniture were still subject to sales tax.

Just down the street from Office Depot, Kristina Williams was checking off items on her children’s back-to-school lists at Wal-Mart.

Williams traveled from Evans with her 8-year-old son, Christopher, who will begin third grade at Augusta Christian Schools. Her 7-year-old daughter, Alexis, will be a second-grader at the school.

Because Georgia’s sales tax holiday isn’t until this weekend, Williams said she made the drive to North Augusta to get her shopping finished before school begins.

“We need to have all the supplies before they start on (Friday),” she said.

Williams expected to spend more than $100 on school supplies alone. Her children’s lists included a range of school materials such as crayons, pencils, folders, tissues and notebooks.

According to a National Retail Federation study, an American family with school-age children will spend an average $635 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics. Total back-to-school spending this year is predicted to reach $26.7 billion.

SALES TAX FREE HOLIDAY

Friday-Saturday in Goergia

Sales tax exempted for clothing and footwear costing $100 or less per item; single purchases of $1,000 or less for personal computer-related accessories; and general school supplies listed for $20 or less per item.

Taxable items are clothing accessories such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches and watchbands, cellular devices, furniture, and computer-related accessories for recreational use.

The exemption does not apply to items used in a trade, business or for resale; rentals; and sales in theme parks, entertainment complexes, public lodging establishments, restaurants or airports.

Source: Georgia Department of Revenue

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