Tax Free Weekend 2014: Consumers expected to save more money this year

Tax Free Weekend: Consumers expected to save more this year

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Tax Free Weekend 2014 starts midnight Friday, Aug. 1, for both Alabama and Georgia.

While parents and students might be excited to save money as they get ready for the new school year, many retail employees are expecting to work longer, busier hours.

Tyler Townsend with Townsend Wealth Management says, "The Governor's office is estimating that consumers will be able to save $143 million dollars this weekend. I think this is higher than what it used to be in the past. The timing plays a very important role in this change, because many people are thinking about shopping for school nowadays, the economy is a little bit better now, and so people are more comfortable spending money."

Unlike last year, tax-free weekend is taking place before the beginning of the new school year. This allows shoppers, especially parents and students, to take advantage of the tax savings. Students won't have to worry about homework, after-school practices and other school-related tasks.

Malorie Dominguez, a sales associate with Hollister at Peachtree Mall, said many consumers will be able to simply enjoy shopping this year.

"I think we will see about two to three times more people this year for the tax-free weekend," Dominguez said. "We are restocking everything to make sure we have everything ready. We expect jeans to be very popular. We also know that schools have dress codes, so T-shirts and knee-length skirts may be popular too."

Dom Sobutay, assistant store manager of Best Buy in Columbus, said the store is also expecting to see twice as many customers this year than they did in 2013, simply because of the timing.

"It's great that we have this tax-free holiday take place right before school starts," Sobutay said. "We see various consumers buy electronics during this time of the year. Middle school students, high school students, but I would have to say most of our consumers are college students. With Columbus State University right down the street, we see many of them look for laptops, tablets and desktop computers."

These are the items that will be eligible for the exemption in Georgia:

-Clothing and shoes with a sales price of $100 or under.
-School supplies with a sale price of $20 or under.
-Computer, computer components and computer software with a sale price of $20 or under.

Items that qualify for the exemption in Alabama are similar but more restrictive.

-Clothing and shoes (not including sports equipment and uniform) with a sales price of $100 or under
-School Supplies under $50
-Computers, computer components and computer software with a sales price of $750 or under.

Items that do not qualify for the exemption are costume masks, belt buckles, sewing materials, pins, sewing needles, tape measures, fabric, zippers, cellular phones, and clothing accessories.

Alabama's Tax Free Weekend will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Georgia's Tax Free Weekend will be on Friday and Saturday.

"For us living on the borders, it gives us options so we can use the one that is to our most advantage," Townsend explained. "Also, resist the temptation to buy items that you wouldn't usually buy just because they are tax free. You don't save money by purchasing things you don't need."

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