NORTH CAROLINA - It's a time for back-to-school shoppers, or anyone else, to buy popular items, without paying sales tax. Although the state-wide sale known as tax-free weekend is coming to an end.
Last week, Governor Pat McCrory signed a tax reform bill that makes this year the last back to school tax-free weekend in the state.
Debbie Bradley, the marketing manager for the New Bern Mall said, "not having this boost is almost like not having Christmas. It's that big for us."
Encore Dept. shoe store manager, Jason Geir, agreed. He said it is the second busiest weekend of the year. He says tax-free weekend can make up at least one-percent of their sales in a year. Geir also said the summer is very slow in the shoe business, and the tax-free weekend helps a lot.
Every first weekend in August mother of two Joanna Reagan said she stocks up on school supplies. She said it can get pricey buying all the essentials for her kids.
"The cool ones cost extra so just saving the extra money is good because every penny counts, especially in today's economy," she said.
Items that qualify this tax-free weekend include clothes, sporting equipment, computers, tablets and school supplies. There are also price restrictions on how much you can spend per item for it to still be tax-free. For example, under school supplies, you can spend up to $100 on each item. So a calculator priced at $99.99 is still tax-free, but anything higher will not be tax-free.
Kahn Freeman is the assistant manager at Citi Trends in New Bern.
"Ever since tax-free Friday, Saturday and even today we've had an overwhelming amount of people coming in," Freeman said.
She said its weekends like this that make her business thrive.
"Well you hate to see it go because it's like a second Christmas for us, and people look forward to this because like they say it's a tax break," Freeman said.
According to the North Carolina Department of State Revenue, tax free weekend cost the state an estimated $13.6 million last year. This year the holiday is expected to cost the state around $13.4 million.
Lawmakers for the new tax bill hope that with a lower income tax year-round, which is part of the new bill, people will still shop during the back to school season.
In order to see a full list of items offered and their price restrictions follow this link: http://www.dor.state.nc.us/taxes/sales/holiday_exempt.pdf