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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / From left, Tessa Kelly, Avery Hampton, Kaitlyn Young and Katie Tidwell shop at Pruett's Market in Signal Mountain on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Tennesseans will be given three ways to avoid paying taxes this month.

The tax-free holidays apply to clothing, computers and school supplies for three days starting Friday. Also starting Friday, no taxes will be collected on the sale of food, food ingredients and prepared foods for one week. And no taxes will be collected on purchases of gun safes and gun safety devices for the next year.

The food holiday is in its second year for restaurants as an effort to help the struggling industry during the pandemic. It was expanded this year to include grocery stores. It will take place from 12:01 a.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Aug. 5. Though the news has caught some restaurateurs and grocery owners by surprise, they welcome the idea.

Chuck Pruett, owner of Pruett's Food Town on Signal Mountain, said, "I think it will be a boost for us. Any time you can bring attention or excitement to our store, it helps."

He said he wasn't made aware of the holiday in time to work up any kind of big promotion, but will put up some signs in the store to let people know. He also said his cash registers are equipped to deduct taxes without much problem.

"We have different categories on a variety of foods and how they are taxed already, so we can flag it without any trouble," he said.

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Tax-free holidays offer relief for food, school supplies, gun safety items

 

Some restaurateurs said they were not even aware of the food-related holiday but will pass the savings on to customers nonetheless.

"I hadn't heard about it, but if customers ask, we will certainly accommodate them," said Cleat Morris, owner of Burlaep Print and Press coffee shop on East 11th Street.

Naked River Brewing Co. owner Jake Raulston also was unaware of the holiday and is "not sure what to expect. It wasn't well communicated," he said.

The three-day tax holiday on back-to-school supplies and computers has been around for several years. It will start at 12:01 a.m. Friday and end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. The first-time holiday for gun safes and safety equipment started July 1 and runs through June 30, 2022.

The shops at both Hamilton Place and Northgate Mall are gearing up for the holiday, during which shoppers can buy clothing and supplies and grab a bite in any of the restaurants throughout the malls and save a little money.

"Our retailers can't wait to welcome the community back to school with shopping for the entire family," said Jan Wills, general manager for Hamilton Place, in a news release. "This season, you'll find all kinds of great new styles as well as special promotions offered on top of tax-free deals so you enjoy additional savings."

Tax-Free Holidays in Tennessee

* Gun Safes & Safety Equipment - It started at 12:01 on July 1 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2022. It covers safes and devices that are installed on a firearm which can only be released by a specified person.

* School Supplies & Computers - It begins at 12:01 a.m. on July 30 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 1. It covers clothing, school supplies and computers that are purchased for personal use only.

* Food, Food Ingredients & Prepared Foods - It begins at 12:01 a.m. July 30 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 5. Taxes will not be collected on things such as groceries or foods that require the seller to mix at least two ingredients, heat the item or foods that are served with things with plates or knives and forks.

* Note: Certain other exemptions do apply and they can be found at https://www.tn.gov/revenue/taxes/sales-and-use-tax/sales-tax-holiday.html

There are qualifications and exemptions for items that can be purchased. You can find the lists at https://bit.ly/3rFs9ik, but essentially school supplies and clothing must be under $100 and computers must cost less than $1,500.

Food items are a little less complicated as long as somebody made it or served it to you. For example, if it was heated or mixed together by the seller or if it was served on a plate and/or with utensils, taxes are exempt. Prepared food does not include food that is only cut, repackaged or pasteurized by the seller. Alcohol, tobacco, candy and dietary supplements are also not included.

Gun safes are pretty self-explanatory, but the "gun safety device" is defined as an integral device that is installed on the firearm that can only be operated by a specific person. These often have a computerized locking device.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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