Not all businesses take off sales tax

However, several area retailers pull in big numbers over holiday


August 13, 2008 at 9:14 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The sales tax holiday came and went in the parish, providing a much-needed boost for some local businesses while leaving others with only a slight increase in sales.

And some businesses in the parish may not have offered the tax deduction at all.

Great Southern Furniture, which is in the midst of its going out of business sale, was one of the lucky ones. The store was packed on Aug. 1 and Aug. 2, leading to a large increase in consumer purchases.

“It was absolutely wild,” Jack Fisher, owner of Great Southern, said.

His wife, Kathy, who co-owns the business, said people just needed a break from the high prices that have gouged their pocketbooks this year.

“I just think that people are so tired of paying taxes that they take advantage of an opportunity that gives them a reprieve,” she said. “Our sales were about quadruple on Aug. 2 from what they usually are on regular Saturdays. People were making decisions that day and were really focused on making a purchase.

“The sales tax holiday has always been strong with us.”

While Great Southern had its going out of business sale to entice consumers, Uniforms by Kajan got a little extra help from the upcoming school year.

“It was busy, busy, busy,” store manager Sean Jung said. “We had at least 50 percent more people in during that weekend than we do on a regular weekend. Most of those people were in there to get school uniforms.”

Kristi Brocato, owner of The Basketry, says that she also had a lot of sales on Aug. 1 and Aug. 2, though she thinks she would have eventually gotten that business somewhere down the line.

“Yes, it definitely brought people in the store,” she said. “It made people shop that weekend. I think it was business that we would have gotten anyway, but because of the tax holiday it all came during those two days.”

While those businesses all experienced a boost, Shea Majoria, co-owner of Majoria's Supermarket, says that the tax holiday didn't provide much of a boost for his store.

“We didn't really see a lot more sales,” he said. “They bought a little extra liquor or beer, but there was no change in our business. We didn't sell more grocery items than we usually do.”

Charlie Hartman, owner of Hartman's True Value, says that his sales were slightly better than normal.

“It rained the first day, which slowed business, but we did do good on the second day,” Hartman said.

However, Hartman's gripe is that not all of the businesses in the parish took off the sales tax.

“It went lousy. I went to four different businesses on the first day on Highway 90 and all four were charging the full 9 percent tax,” he said. “I came back and called the parish's sales tax department and they told me it wasn't mandatory, but that if a consumer got charged tax they could go up there, fill out a form and get reimbursed. That's ridiculous.

“The state and the parish finally come together on something and it was ruined because they didn't make it mandatory.”

Paula Jeansonne, the director of the sales tax collection office, says that she had heard those complaints also.

“I did hear that several vendors did collect the tax,” she said. “We can't force people to change their registers, though all businesses are supposed to waive the tax.”

Jeansonne says that all her office can do is refund the tax to residents that kept their receipt.

“We had very few people bring in receipts - maybe five total,” she said. “The people who came in with receipts were mostly those who had something delivered to them from outside of the parish.”

During the tax-free weekend, residents were not charged either parish or state taxes for up to $2,500 in purchases because the parish's tax holiday coincided with the state's.
Residents who were charged taxes can still go to the parish's sales tax office on 13855 River Road in Hahnville.

They must bring their receipt.




View other articles written By Jonathan Menard

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