2019 Tax Free Weekend: What IS and is NOT exempt from sales tax

Published: Aug. 2, 2019 at 7:06 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -Friday is the start of a big shopping weekend in the Palmetto State. The annual Sales Tax Holiday allows South Carolina shoppers to buy certain items without having to pay any sales tax, but only certain items apply.

This weekend especially caters to the back-to-school shoppers with classes picking back up after summer break for many students in less than two weeks. Tax-free items this weekend will range from clothing, school supplies, and technology. The Department of Revenue outlines exactly which items will and will not be exempt from sales tax here: https://dor.sc.gov/taxfreeweekend

WIS-TV also reached out to the SC Department of Consumer Affairs for some best spending practices, this weekend.

“Don’t take this as a weekend to just go out and buy whatever and anything because it’s tax free. If you don’t need it, you shouldn’t be buying it,”communications director with the Department of Consumer Affairs Bailey Parker said.

She adds that, “a lot of stores may try and offer you store credit cards because of the tax free weekend. Don’t fall into that just because you’re getting some deals for the weekend. A lot of those store credit cards are going to have really high interest rates. So, if you don’t pay that back, you’re going to end up paying ten-fold, if you don’t pay it right away.”

Again, not everything is exempt from the 6% sales tax. When shopping for those college dorm rooms, bedding and towels will be exempt abut furniture, mattresses and toilet paper are not. If you’re interested in new technology, computers will be tax free, but not cameras or smartphones. Jewelry and cosmetics are just a couple of other items on the “non-exempt” list, this weekend.

Parker also says it’s important to spot and avoid those sales that may not be as good of a deal as they seem.

“Businesses do that a lot of the times. They’ll mark things up to kind of make up for the lost taxes. The reality is, really do your research here. We always tell consumers do your own research. Don’t trust businesses to do the work for you. If you’re looking for a deal, shop around and you can do this online. You don’t have to go to every single store. Do it online. Make a couple phone calls. Make sure that you’re getting the best deal, because some businesses may actually be pushing their prices up to make up for the lost tax.”

According to the Department of Revenue, in past years, South Carolinians have saved between $2-$3 million over the Tax Free Weekend, which was started back in 2000.

The 2019 Tax Free Weekend kicked off around midnight, Friday, and will end on Sunday.

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