Sales tax holiday provides boost to parents, Middle Georgia businesses

While the upcoming sales tax holiday will provide a small discount on back-to-school supplies, many stores will also put items on sale that qualify as tax free.

Georgia’s back-to-school sales tax holiday runs Friday and Saturday, which means a savings of 7 percent for shoppers in Middle Georgia.

The holiday helps parents and area retailers, especially on big-ticket items such as computers.

“It’s definitely a big deal for my business,” said Brad Spiegel, owner of Quality Computer Systems Inc. in Macon. “I don’t do sales very often. I do sales on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving Day) and I do sales on tax-free weekend, and that’s it.”

By knocking off the cost of the tax, the playing field is leveled for everybody “because so many people do online shopping and don’t pay sales tax,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for people to get the same deal with buying locally.”

The timing coincides closely with opening day for most area schools.

“Families are already starting to prepare for the upcoming school year, and this annual back-to-school shopping season is the second busiest behind only the winter holidays in terms of sales,” Georgia Retail Association President/CEO Rick McAllister said in a news release.

This year 29 percent of households with school-age children plan to spend more than last year for school-related items, according to a national retail survey of more than 6,400 adults.

The tax-free savings apply to some clothing and footwear $100 or less per item; computers, computer components and pre-written software for personal use with a sales price of $1,000 or less; and school supplies bought for noncommercial use with a sales price of $20 of less per item.

For a list of tax exempt items and taxable items, visit

Lynn Bassett, owner of Ashley Marie’s Boutique, with stores in Perry and Forsyth, caters to young adults and youth. She already has had a lot of back-to-school shoppers, but it will likely ramp up.

“We believe we will get a good turnout on that weekend,” Bassett said. “We probably will do a 25 percent off sale during the tax-free holiday.”

The store carries items that are popular for back to school and some that are part of the uniforms at some schools, she said.

Erica Abner, assistant store manager with Best Buy in Macon, said the sales tax holiday is the kick off for back to school for the store.

“Believe it or not when people think about tax-free, they are saving $70 on something that cost $1,000, so that kind of resonates with them,” Abner said. “We know customers are going to be in here, so we do have some sales those days.”

Just in time for the tax-free holiday, Windows 10 will launch Friday and Best Buy is holding an open house 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and each of the next five Saturdays to show people how it works, she said.

Some people have been coming into the store to check out computers they plan to buy during the tax-free holiday, she said.

Spiegel said he had a bump in customers last week and “a lot of it is people pre-ordering stuff for tax-free weekend.”

“The majority of people that I see come in year after year for this (tax-free holiday) are people who are sending their kids off to art school or to engineering school where they need that close to $1,000 machine,” he said. “That’s when the 7 percent (sales tax) makes a big impact.”

Both Best Buy and Quality Computers move employees around or adjust their hours to better serve customers during the two-day tax-free holiday.

“It’s a great weekend to buy local,” Spiegel said.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-422 or find her on Twitter@VaBorn06.