Tax free weekend is gearing up in South Carolina and the response has been lackluster at best. with high unemployment in the area and those who have jobs holding onto every last scrap of paper that they have, the spending for the tax free weekend in south Carolina doesn’t appear to be adding up to all that much. While there are certainly parents who need to buy things like clothes and school related items for their kids, the tax free weekend in the Charleston area of South Carolina where I am hasn’t impacted noticeably on first brush.
Tax Free History:
Enacted in 1997 in New York the tax holiday weekend has been adopted by a handful of states elsewhere. I remember the first tax free weekend; everyone in Fairfield County Connecticut where I lived at the time hopped over the border to White Plains or New York City to take advantage of the duty free weekend (spending, likely, a lot more than we’d intended; as the initiative had hoped). A number of states followed suit following the success in New York; South Carolina being one of them.
What It Is:
According to the South Carolina Tax Website (1), the tax free weekend in 2010 is when “6% state sales and use tax, and any applicable local sales and use tax, will not be imposed on clothing, clothing accessories (e.g., hats, scarves, hosiery, and handbags), footwear, school supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, book bags, lunchboxes, and calculators), computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software, and bath wash clothes, blankets, bed spreads, bed linens, sheet sets, comforter sets, bath towels, shower curtains, bath rugs and mats, pillows, and pillow cases.”
What It Isn’t:
However there are some items which are not to be included in the tax free weekend. “The sales tax holiday, however, does not apply to sales of jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches, furniture, rental of clothing or footwear, items for use in a business, or items placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plans.” Why not wallets, I wonder? Is it so that people don’t have anywhere to keep the money they save on no sales tax?
On the Ground:
I have been out and about on this first day of sales tax free weekend South Carolina 2010 and while it’s early, the day looks about as pedestrian as any other. While it remains to be seen if folks will take advantage of this tax free holiday as the weekend progresses, from what I’ve heard anecdotally people in South Carolina are still hurting. I’ve met a great deal of people in my work in a hotel and in my wife’s work at Starbucks; the message on both fronts has been the same: People just don’t have a lot of expendable income to mess around with.
Will the tax free weekend be a boon or a bust for South Carolina in 2010? It remains to be seen. While I’m sure the tax free weekend will be touted as a ‘success’ – success in a down economy is relative. Yet another reminder that it’s not 1997 anymore.