By Johnny Jackson
Georgia shoppers will be able to purchase certain clothing items, school supplies, computers and computer accessories without paying state and local sales taxes, during the state's seventh annual tax-free holiday, which begins at 12:01 a.m., July 31, and continues until midnight, Aug. 3.
This year's tax holiday was made possible by House Bill 948, which Gov. Sonny Perdue signed on May 14.
"I encourage parents, students and teachers to take advantage of this weekend's sales-tax holiday to purchase those much-needed supplies," Perdue said. "Past experience shows that many retailers offer additional discounts and sales that add up to even more savings for back-to-school shoppers."
Teachers will again receive a $100 classroom gift card to offset the costs of preparing their classrooms for the new school year. The gift cards will be active from July 31 through Aug. 10. Teachers are, however, encouraged to use the cards during the sales-tax holiday to maximize the spending power of the $100.
During the tax-free period, clothing and footwear up to $100 per item are exempt from any sales tax, and there is no limit on the number of shoes and clothing items an individual can buy.
If the price of an article of clothing or pair of shoes exceeds $100, the item will be taxed at its full retail price. Clothing accessories, jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches, watchbands, and similar items are not exempt from sales tax during the tax-free period.
School supplies bought for classroom use or classroom-related activities are exempt if they cost $20 or less per item. The items include pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, book bags, calculators, dictionaries, thesauruses, children's books, and books listed on approved school reading lists for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
Sales tax will be due on the purchase of any single school-supply item that exceeds $20.
Purchases of personal computers and accessories are exempt up to $1,500 per transaction. Items included in the personal computer exemption category include monitors, personal computer base units, keyboards, handheld computers, monitors, printers, modems, non-recreational software, and other peripheral devices.
Personal digital assistants are exempt unless they allow voice communication. Other items that are not exempt include regular cell phones, digital cameras, furniture, and any systems, devices, software, or peripherals designed or intended primarily for recreational use.
The sales-tax exemption on all qualified merchandise is intended only for individuals and their personal use. The exemption does not apply to purchases made for resale, purchases by businesses, items leased or rented, or items sold at sports facilities, theme parks, restaurants, public lodging establishments and airports.
Additional information and a comprehensive list of exempt items are available at any of the Department of Revenue's regional offices or online at the department's web site. Individuals may also contact the department by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (404) 417-6601.
The department will also hold a tax-free holiday for certain energy-efficient and water-efficient products this October. The holiday, between Oct. 2-5, will include those products whose sales price is $1,500 or less.
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