EASLEY— It’s back to school tax free weekend for parents and teachers in Pickens County and across South Carolina and there could be some confusion as to what is actually a tax exempt item before the sales begin.
According to state law, South Carolina’s tax free weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in August and runs through midnight of Sunday the same weekend, in this case Aug. 1 through Aug. 3. There are two lists of items that are accessible through the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s website, listed as exempt and non-exempt.
Exempt items are those exempt from sales tax over the weekend.
Items exempt from state and local sales tax include clothing, clothing accessories (not limited to hats, scarves, footwear, handbags), school supplies (not limited to pens, pencils, paper, calculators, binders, book bags, and books), computers and printers, computer software, printer supplies, and an entire list of linens and bathroom supplies intended for dorm use.
“Pretty much anything a student uses or touches is covered by the exemption for taxes during the weekend,” Diane Williams, owner of Bowers School Supply in Easley, said. “If it’s used for school or in the classroom, chances are it’s covered. Not just the regular pencils and paper, but all sorts of electronics and college supplies as well.”
Although this is a statewide tax free weekend on these items, how does the locally owned business fare in the marketplace?
“Local business owners, even with the sales tax dropped can’t compete with the big box stores,” Williams explained. “First off we don’t have as wide a selection as they do and shoppers seem to flock to them because it’s convenient because everything is in one place.”
Williams did go on to share one advantage a local business such as Bowers School Supply has over the chain retailers in the area.
“Most of their stock is seasonal, they don’t have all of these items year round. What we carry we carry year round and while there may be a price break during the seasonal shopping, replacements of some items may be hard to come by and that’s where we have an advantage,” Williams said.
Some of the items you may be surprised to find on the exempt items list, prepared every July and distributed to retailers throughout the state include:
Beach capes and coats, adult diapers, corset laces, in-line skates, lingerie, shawls and wraps, ski masks, waders, and furs.