St. Charles Herald-Guide

Tax-free free shopping on Aug. 3-4

By Jonathan Menard - July 27, 2012

On Aug. 3-4, St. Charles will be the only parish in the state that will suspend all sales taxes on most retail purchases.

The sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and continues through midnight on Saturday. School supplies, hurricane protection items, furniture and even alcohol and tobacco products are just a few of the many items that will be available tax free.

The amount of the taxes that will be waived include 2 percent from the parish, 3 percent from the School Board and 4 percent from the state, for a total of 9 percent.

That means residents can save as much as $225 in sales tax on each item up to $2,500 purchased.

Historically, the tax holiday provides a major boost to local retailers because most residents choose to shop inside the parish.

Furniture, appliances and other luxury items usually sell well during the tax-free weekend. However, residents are urged to use the holiday to save on the purchases of back-to-school supplies and hurricane preparedness items.

Items not eligible for the tax exemption include vehicles subject to license and title, most meals, laundry services, and purchases of taxable services such as hotel rooms and athletic admissions.

In the past there have been a handful of businesses around the parish that do not take off the full 9 percent tax. This is mostly because they are not capable of changing their registers to reflect the abatement of the tax. However, if a resident does end up paying any sales tax over the weekend, they can get refunded.

To do so, they must bring their receipt to the parish’s sales tax collection office to get a refund of the local portion, which is 5 percent. To get a refund of the state portion, which is 4 percent, the resident must request it from the store where they made the purchase.

Though the refunds are offered, residents rarely visit the sales tax office to collect them.

Louisiana Revised Statute 47:305.54 provides that the sales tax holiday applies only to the state sales tax. However, Revised Statute 47:337.10(L) provides that a political subdivision of the state located in a parish with a population between 45,000 and 48,250, according to the most recent federal census, is authorized by ordinance to conduct a sales tax holiday.

The St. Charles Parish Council and the St. Charles Parish School Board both voted to suspend their sales taxes.