South Carolina’s Sales Tax Holiday Weekend is this weekend

Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 12:09 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The state’s annual 72-hour Sales Tax Holiday kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday.

The event gives shoppers the chance to purchase school supplies and other needed items without paying the state’s customary 6% state sales tax and applicable local taxes.

“In these difficult times, Tax Free Weekend is a great way for South Carolina shoppers to save money, and even more, it’s a time to support our South Carolina businesses,” South Carolina Department of Revenue Director Hartley Powell said. “Don’t forget, online purchases of eligible items are tax-free too, so check out your favorite local retailer’s website.”

Tax-free items include computers, printers, school supplies, clothing and accessories, footwear, and certain bed and bath items. These tax-free items can be new or used and are eligible regardless of price. That list includes:

  • Art supplies for schools
  • Athletic uniforms
  • Backpacks
  • Bedding
  • Blankets
  • Bookbags
  • Calculators
  • Clothing
  • Coats and jackets
  • Computers
  • Computer parts and accessories when sold as a package with a computer
  • Diapers
  • Earbuds and headphones
  • Flash drives
  • Gloves and mittens
  • Headphones and earbuds
  • Lunch boxes
  • Musical instruments for school
  • Pillows
  • Printers and printer supplies (including replaceable ink cartridges)
  • Purses and handbags
  • School supplies
  • Shoes and footwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Socks and underwear
  • Towels
  • Uniforms (band, scouts, school and sports)

Items that are not tax-free during the Sales Tax Holiday include digital cameras, smartphones, jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches, furniture, rental clothing or footwear, and items for use in a trade or business, including:

  • Backpacks (not used for school)
  • Bathroom accessories
  • Briefcases, change purses and wallets
  • Cameras
  • Cell phones and smartphones
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Computers used in a business
  • Cookware
  • Cosmetics
  • eReaders
  • Furniture
  • Glasses and contacts
  • Hardware and tools
  • Jewelry
  • Mattresses and box springs
  • Music and video players
  • Office supplies
  • Paper products (tissues, paper towels)
  • Protective and safety masks and goggles
  • Replacement parts
  • Safety equipment
  • Sports equipment (baseball mitts, helmets, life jackets and vests, mouthguards, pads, etc.)
  • Stereo equipment
  • Toilet paper
  • Video game consoles
  • Watches and bands

Online purchases of eligible items are tax-free, too, according to SCDOR. The agency says shoppers should also check with their retailers for online shopping, delivery or pick-up options. Shoppers who shop in stores should practice social distancing, wear face coverings and follow other guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Last year, South Carolina shoppers bought more than $21.7 million in tax-free items during the Sales Tax Holiday.

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs encourages consumers to navigate this shopping weekend with a thoughtful plan involving the following tips:

  • Be on-guard as you shop online. Because of Coronavirus, you may be looking to do your back-to-school shopping online. SCDCA has compiled five ways to keep your information safe while browsing and buying online.
  • Check mask ordinances, guidelines and store offerings before heading out. If you choose to shop in-store, double check for mask ordinances in the city/county the store is located so you can be prepared. Many stores offer delivery or curbside pick-up to simplify your shopping trip. Make sure to read the terms and conditions to find out if there are any fees associated with these extra services.
  • Decide your payment method. When shopping in a store, pay with cash if you have trouble sticking to a budget. If you prefer shopping online, a credit card offers more consumer fraud protections than a debit card.
  • Make a list and stick to it. Review the Department of Revenue’s website for a general list of items that are tax exempt as well as ones that are not. A list will help save time and avoid impulse buying and overspending.
  • Know the return policy. Review return and exchange policies online so you know before you go. Don’t see it in store? Ask, especially if you are purchasing items that often have a restocking fee, like computers.
  • Review financial statements. Security breaches often happen during heavily trafficked shopping times. Read your financial statements during the tax-free weekend and beyond, ensuring there are no errors or fraudulent charges. If there are, dispute them immediately.

Consumers with questions about the tax-free weekend can call SCDCA toll-free in SC at 1-800-922-1594.

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