Sales tax holiday benefits families and businesses for back to school

Preparing to send children back to school can be tough for any family. Whether buying backpacks and crayons or laptops and dorm room sheets, the shopping list can be long and expensive.

Local families can find a reprieve next weekend during Alabama’s fifth-annual sales tax holiday for back to school. Participating cities in Shelby County will allow purchases on certain school supplies, computers and clothing free of the state 4 percent sales tax.

The tax holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday August 6 and end at midnight Sunday August 8, according to the Alabama Retail Association.

Montevallo has participated in the back to school sales tax holiday every year. Montevallo Chamber of Commerce President Mary Lou Williams said it has been a success for local business and for local families.

“It’s tough putting kids back in school,” she said. “Supplies and clothing they might need have an impact on family budget. Special promotions along with the tax holiday are a real benefit to families.”

The weekend also increases activity in stores, she said.

“People are very likely to buy things that are not exempt from the tax also, “ she said. “And that helps the stores by increasing the volume of sales.”

Ashley Eiler, owner of Favorite Laundry, a children’s clothing store in Mt Laurel, said she is expecting an increase in business over the sales tax holiday weekend.

“We typically have everything out and clean and ready to go,” she said.

Since clothing is one of the items exempt from the tax, Eiler said she’s looking forward to selling many back to school outfits.

“People will still come in for sales items on our summer clothing to complete their school wardrobe,” she said.

It’s also a great time to stock up on socks and shoes that children will need once the weather cools off, she said.

Shelby County cities that will not be participating in the sales tax holiday are Harpersville, Helena, Vincent and Wilton.

According to the Alabama Retail Association, some of the items that will be exempt from the sales tax during the weekend are: binders, book bags, calculators, composition books, folders, lunch boxes, pencils, notebook paper, sports or recreational equipment, clothing, computers and computer software. For a full list of items exempt and not exempt from the sales tax, visit Alabamaretail.org.