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Yes, Georgia Has a Tax Free Weekend in 2013

July 15, 2013 5:45am (EDT)
image via Flicker (Lyn Lomasi)
image via Flicker (Lyn Lomasi)

Yes, Georgia has a tax-free weekend in 2013. And we are grateful! Costs for fuel and goods are staying up (and even climbing) and we need a break. Circle August 9-10 on your calendars, set a reminder on your phone, take a day off of work, and make plans.

Just like last year’s tax-free weekend, you get two days. Also like last year, the tax-free weekend starts after most schools have already started.

Rules to follow while you’re out shopping:

•Clothing (including footwear) with a sales price of $100.00 or less per item.
•Personal computers and personal computer-related accessories are included if each item is less than $1,000.
•General school supplies to be used in the classroom or in classroom-related activities with a sales price of $20.00 or less per item.

Those three rules always elicit tons of questions. Thankfully, the State has a pretty detailed list of what items are and are not included in this very handy Tax Holiday Fact Sheet online.

Common Questions

Does the tax exemption include online shopping?
This was, by far, the most common question last year. The answer is a little muddled. (If you have a concrete answer, then please leave it in the comments below.) Since the last tax-free weekend, Georgia has instituted taxing goods sold online. That’s totally new within the past year. It’s possible that you’ll find a retailer online who isn’t charging sales tax because this law is relatively new. Beyond that, I haven’t found anything that explicitly states that online retailers are inclined to participate. Last year, folks reported being charged tax online.

Is athletic equipment eligible for tax-free status?
Yes… and no. Check this list, which includes uniforms, athletic clothing, bathing suits and cover-ups, belts, shin guards, pads, and helmets and such. However, actual sporting equipment like balls, paddles, and racquets are out.

Are electronic tablets exempt*?
Yes! As long as each item is under $1000, it is exempt. If your kid is in a Bring Your Own Technology school, then this is a great time to set them up with hand-held tech. For example, if you were buying an i-Pad mini for $329, you would pay $26.32 in sales tax alone (8%). That’s a considerable savings.

What isn’t included?
Fantastic question. It can seem contradictory, but there has to be a line somewhere, I suppose.
Some items that might be great for an education setting are not eligible, like digital cameras, cell phones, and projectors. However, web cameras and PDAs are covered. Also, backpacks (under $20) are covered, but computer bags are not.
More items not on the tax-free list:
Purses and handbags
Clothing that is rented (like rented uniforms)
Cosmetics
Briefcases
Televisions
Surge Protectors
Computer games and gaming systems
MP3 Players
Books (except children’s books, dictionaries, and thesauruses)

For a more thorough explanation, be sure to read through this list from the State.

Tips

The tax-free holiday does include formal wear. If you anticipate a child going to prom this year, buy a dress now and save money on the taxes. Plus, since it’s off-season, you may score big discounts. If you think your son is about done growing, buying a tux can save a lot of money, too. Make sure to get one that allows room for the sleeves and pants lengths to be let out some just in case.

Copy machines are taxable. However, “all-in-one” printers are exempt. So, unless you really need a heavy-duty copier, you may be able to swing a good deal with this work-around.

While digital cameras are taxable, web cameras are not. Finding a web camera with still capability will be your work-around here.

Finally, shop the sales. Plan to make a few stops. Pack a little cooler with water bottles and make a day of it. If you’re really not in to making multiple stops (let’s make a club for that!), then gather the sales papers. Make a list, take the sales papers with you and head to stores that price-match with competitors. Will this be more work? No. You’re looking for the sales anyway. It may mean that your checkout at one store takes 2 minutes longer, but you will save time by standing in only one line!

*Exempt is synonymous with “tax-free” and “eligible” in this blog as well as in the list from the State.

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