At 12:01 a.m. Friday, retailers are hoping shoppers will take advantage of a 7 percent sales tax holiday in St. Charles Parish.
It’s not last year’s 9 percent break, but the 2 percent difference became a casualty to the state of Louisiana’s budget crunch as legislators have been trying to resolve anticipated tax revenue shortfalls from an oil bust. They also nixed this year’s annual Hurricane Preparedness sales tax holiday for the same reason, which is typically held in May.
Tax holidays are important to retailers, particularly in pushing big tag item sales.
At Stell Furniture Co. in Luling, owner David Stell said customers will still get a full 10 percent sales tax break on store purchases this weekend.
“That’s pretty much standard – if you say no tax you mean no tax,” Stell said. “We’re going to give the full 10 percent. Out of the state’s 5 percent, we will have to pay the 3 percent they don’t pay.”
It’s a move aimed at driving sales, and Stell’s hopes keeping it simple will bring customers to his store. Last year’s tax holiday kicked up sales 5 to 7 percent at his store for the month.
Stell said he isn’t sure if the move will do the same this year, but he’s going to try it anyway.
“It’s giving the customer a little more savings,” he said. “It’s something we want to do regardless.”
At Hartman’s True Value Hardware store in Boutte, owner Charlie Hartman isn’t optimistic about better sales this weekend because he hasn’t seen the tax holiday advertised enough to alert people about how they could save by buying in the parish.
“I’ve just not seen any advertisement for it,” Hartman said. “I’m not going to do as well as in past years, I don’t believe.”
Hartman also expects some retailers to not honor the tax holiday, which he has reported in past years.
The Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday provides for reduced state tax and an exemption from parish sales tax on the first $2,500 on the purchase price of most individual items for non-business use, said Paula Jeansonne, parish director of tax collections.
This weekend’s holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5, and runs through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6.
The holiday will forgive 2 percent of state sales tax and 5 percent parish sales tax in St. Charles Parish.
These exemptions will apply to all consumer purchases except vehicles subject to license and title, meals furnished for consumption on the premises where purchased that include to-go orders, property not used in a business, trade or profession.
The parish followed suit on these same exemptions on purchases made in or delivered to the parish.
Other ineligible items include purchases of taxable services such as hotel occupancy, amusement, recreation and athletic admissions, repairs on property, laundry, cleaning, pressing and dyeing services, vehicle parking, furnishing cold storage space, printing services and telecommunications services.
At the Basketry in Luling, owner Kristi Brocato said the tax holiday weekend will offer the opportunity to make a deal.
“I think it’s a great time to stock up on some back-to-school items and anytime anyone can save money is always a good holiday,” Brocato said. “I think it’s great to help people out. It’s expensive for people to go back to school.” Like Stell and Brocato, Sears Manager Kathy Wimer is optimistic about sales this weekend, but would feel better about them at last year’s sales tax break.
“I’m excited, but my excitement has been tempered,” Wimer said. “It’s was going to be so fantastic at 10 percent off and now it’s 7 percent. It’s a chunk of money and definitely worthwhile doing.”
Also like Stell, Wimer is trying to get the word out about the tax holiday, as well as may bring in added help.
“I think it’s going to be good, as good as it’s been in the past and it’s still a great time to purchase – you will save money.”