By STEVEN NALLEY
Students and their parents in Starkville and across Mississippi have an opportunity to save money on their back-to-school shopping during the statewide sales tax holiday Friday and Saturday.
The sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight Saturday, giving shoppers just under 48 hours to buy clothes and footwear without paying Mississippi’s 7 percent sales tax. Jon Turner, who has a daughter entering sixth grade at Armstrong Middle School, said he plans to take full advantage of the holiday.
“Of course you want to get out there early while the pickings are still good,” Turner said. “Anytime you can save that 7 percent you want to take advantage of it, and everyone wants to get out and shop locally and help their local merchants. I’m just glad since we have to shop for uniforms, we’re going to get a break on the cost of them.”
Tamara Gibson is another SSD parent with one child in the first grade and another in the 12th grade. Her family will shop during the holiday, she said, and she hopes Mississippi never ends the sales tax holiday program.
“We’ll try to beat the rush, but I’m not an early bird,” Gibson said. “I like that they give us the opportunity to save a few dollars, especially during this time of the year when things can be expensive, when you’re out buying clothing and supplies. (The holiday) always helps to save a lot of money.”
According to a release from the Mississippi Department of Revenue, the holiday applies to clothing and footwear but not accessories, which include jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, wallets, watches and backpacks. The release also says:
— Sales taxes are still due on items that cost more than $100. If individual items purchased together each cost less than $100, no sales tax is due even if the total cost exceeds $100. Items normally sold as a unit count as an individual item; they cannot be counted separately to qualify for the holiday.
— If store discounts or coupons drive an item’s price below the $100 threshold, the item qualifies for the holiday. Manufacturer’s coupons do not count toward qualification. If a “buy one, get one free” sale is in effect, the prices of the two items cannot be averaged to qualify both items for the holiday. Sales taxes due still depend on the price paid for each item sold.
— Sales tax is still due on items bought on layaway.
— Sales tax is not due on qualifying items bought via mail, telephone or the Internet so long as the purchaser orders and pays for the items during the holiday.
— If a shopper purchases an item during the sales tax holiday and exchanges it for another item afterward, sales tax applies to a different item bought with credit from the exchanged item. Sales tax does not apply if the shopper exchanges an item for a variation on the same item, such as a shirt of a different size or color in the same style as the shirt initially purchased.
More information, including the full MDOR release, is available at MDOR’s website at http://www.dor.ms.gov/ .