Five things to know about the sales tax holiday

07/27/2014 12:00 AM

07/25/2014 11:37 AM

This year’s sales tax holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday and Grand Strand merchants are expecting a bonus of shoppers because North Carolina has no tax-free weekend this year.

“For tax free, we’re just getting out of the way of shoppers,” said Nick Barrett, general manager of the two Tanger Outlets along the Grand Strand.

The holiday was originally billed as a back-to-school event because it includes clothing and school supplies many parents buy their children before the start of school each fall. But adult clothing, shoes and home items such as towels and bed spreads are also included in the tax holiday.

Like Barrett, Lisa Parson, manager of J.C. Penney at Myrtle Beach Mall, said she expects even more shoppers this year because of what isn’t happening in North Carolina.

Shoppers should expect stores to be busy, but since the stores have been through this before, they’re likely to have the staff to handle the press.

Ashley Gause, manager of Target at Sayebrook off S.C. 544, said her store will have the personnel on-hand to assist the plethora of customers she expects.

Some stores will be offering specials to go with the tax holiday, and the best place to find out about them is the store’s website.

FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE S.C. TAX HOLIDAY

1. What’s tax free and what’s not

Not everything in stores will be tax free. Tax-free items include clothes, shoes, bedding, bath towels and computers, among other things. Those that will not be exempt from sales taxes include jewelry, cosmetics and furniture. For a complete list of each, go to http://www.sctax.org/tax+policy/sales+tax+holiday+information.htm

2. How much you’ll save

In addition to discounts given by individual stores, the tax-free holiday will eliminate state and local sales taxes. That means that the statewide discount will amount to $6 for every $100 spent. Shoppers in Horry County can add another dollar per $100 because they won’t have to pay a 1 percent sales tax for schools. And add on another dollar at stores in the city of Myrtle Beach, which also has a local 1 percent sales tax.

That means that shoppers in Horry County will get $7 off for every $100 spent and those in stores that are in the city of Myrtle Beach will save $8 per $100.

3. The best time to shop

The tax-free period starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday and runs through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Stores will tell you they are fairly busy from morning to night. But, Parson of J.C. Penney at Myrtle Beach Mall, said mornings are usually less crowded than other times. “Typically we don’t see a whole lot of traffic before 12 o’clock,” she said.

Barrett suggested the same likely would be true at Tanger Outlet stores. But if it rains, he said, it will draw people off the beaches and into the stores.

4. Merchants want shoppers to be safe

Stores, malls and shopping centers don’t like the publicity that comes with parking lot robberies, and worse, so most will have staff patrolling the lots.

5. Rain checks, no; online shopping, yes

Rain checks that allow a shopper to return to a store to buy an item that might be out-of-stock are not allowed during the tax-free weekend. But customers may pay for out-of-stock items that have immediate shipping orders, even if the shipment has to be delayed because of a backlog to be filled. Not all stores may allow this, though.

Online purchases of tax-free items are also eligible to participate, but again only if they are to be shipped immediately or as soon as possible.

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