published Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Shopping tax free: Georgia forgoes levy on school supplies

Melanie Swader, left, and Sue Martin browse the outside racks behind a sign advertising Beall's Outlet's tax-free weekend sales Friday. Customers shopped for clothing and school supplies during the first day of Georgia's back-to-school tax-free weekend Friday.
Melanie Swader, left, and Sue Martin browse the outside racks behind a sign advertising Beall's Outlet's tax-free weekend sales Friday. Customers shopped for clothing and school supplies during the first day of Georgia's back-to-school tax-free weekend Friday.
Photo by Jake Daniels.
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Amy Dodd and her eighth-grade daughter missed Tennessee's sales tax holiday last week -- so she headed across the border to Georgia this weekend to do her back-to-school shopping.

After a two-year break, Georgia's sales tax-free weekend is back. Today is the last day shoppers can snag clothing, electronics and school supplies without paying the state's typical sales tax.

"School starts Monday, so we decided to wait after we missed Tennessee's tax-free weekend and do this one here," Dodd said.

She expected to save $30 to $40 as she stocked up.

There are a few restrictions on what shoppers can purchase tax free: Clothing must be less than $100 per item, electronics must be less than $1,000, and general school supplies must cost less than $20 per item.

Gabe Howard, store manager of the Fort Oglethorpe Office Depot, said the store is busier than usual this weekend.

"We're seeing a surge in foot traffic that we haven't seen in three years," he said. "It's good to have the business back in the stores. It usually drives in a good number of customers."

He said his staff has been preparing for the back-to-school rush for several weeks.

But not everyone planned their shopping trip around the chance to buy supplies tax free.

"I don't usually do the tax-free stuff," said Karen Acuff, who was shopping with her fourth-grade daughter. "I don't like the crowds -- I'd rather just pay the extra sales tax."

But for others, the sales tax-free weekend is an important way to save money. Rock Spring Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Erin Cline said she uses the weekend to stock up on classroom supplies such as markers, pencils, folders and glue.

With teachers in Georgia "furloughed 12 days this year without pay," the weekend's savings are worth the effort, she said.

"So this weekend is just being able to come and spend a little extra to have some taken off the price at the end. Pretty much everything we have to buy ourselves now," she said.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury joined the Times Free Press as a business reporter in January 2013, after starting with the paper as a general assignment intern in July 2012. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint Hill Times. Outside the newsroom, Shelly enjoys ...

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