LUMBERTON - Robeson County residents will get a vacation this weekend when the state observes what has become known as its annual sales tax holiday.
Beginning just after midnight tonight, shoppers across North Carolina won't have to pay sales taxes on items ranging from clothes to sports equipment to school supplies to computer equipment.
The holiday, which is in its sixth year, begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
North Carolina is one of 15 states in the nation currently offering a tax-break period.
"The weekend tax break not only means savings for consumers," Gov. Mike Easley said in a statement, "this incentive also generates significant business for our state's retailers."
The tax-free weekend was created by the General Assembly in 2002 specifically to help consumers with back-to-school shopping, but it has been a hit with both consumers and retailers alike. A survey of North Carolina Retail Merchants Association members found that most anticipate a 10 percent sales increase during the third quarter because of the holiday.
John Hendren, store manager with the Wal-Mart store in Lumberton, said it has become one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.
Hendren says his sales staff has spent several days putting up signs to alert people about which items are tax free and stocking many of the items in bulk near the end of the aisles.
“We get quite a few more customers coming in for the tax-free weekend and that translates into more sales for us,” Hendren said. “We just try to make sure we're staffed for it.”
Consumers will not be charged tax on the following:
- Clothes and footwear that cost less than $100 per item.
- School supplies such as pens, pencils, paper, book bags and calculators that cost less than $100 per item.
- Sports and recreation equipment costing $50 or less per item
- Athletic and non-athletic uniforms costing less than $100 per item.
- Cycling items such as shoes, shirts and gloves, costing $100 or less per item.
- Computers, including the central processing unit, monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers, totaling less than $3,500.