Sales tax holiday underway

Families getting ready to send their kids back to school can save money during the 2015 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday).

During these two days, most retail purchases are exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax.

The sales tax holiday exempts the first $2,500 of the purchase price of each eligible item when the customer buys and accepts delivery of eligible property, places property on layaway, acquires property that was previously placed on layaway or places an order for immediate delivery, even if the delivery must be delayed, provided the customer has not requested delayed delivery.

The sales tax holiday applies only to the 4 percent state sales tax. Local sales taxes apply to purchases unless the local taxing authority creates its own exemption.

Some local businesses are gearing up for the effects of the sale.

Kathy Wimer, store manager of Sears in Luling, said the holiday typically brings in a large influx of customers.“Oh, we’re very excited,” she said. “Nobody gets that day off. It’s usually a big weekend for us. The extra traffic is very significant.”

Wimer said popular items on shoppers’ lists for a tax-free weekend include major appliances and tractors.

“Sometimes, you get a do-gooder who comes in and buys some exercise equipment, too,” she said. But usually, this is when people come in looking for a nice refrigerator.“One thing not everyone realizes is we still have our regular sales on top of the tax savings. It’s a chance to really save a lot of money.”

Charlie Hartman of Hartman’s True Value Hardware in Boutte, conversely, said the sales tax hasn’t resulted in an appreciable bump of customers in the past.

“Last year, we didn’t see it,” he said. “It seemed like a lot of people weren’t aware of it. They’d buy things and were very surprised at the savings when they got to check out.”

Echoing Wimer, Hartman said his store would have sales in effect on top of the tax savings.

“All of our lawnmowers are on sale,” he said. “My trimmers, chainsaws … we’ll have a lot you can save on for that weekend.”

At The Basketry, store owner Kristi Brocato said her shop sees an increase in traffic as well.

“People do enjoy that nine percent savings,” she said. “People have been interested in some of our larger home décor pieces, as well as our ‘Waxing Poetic’ jewelry.”

Dana Majoria of Majoria’s Supermarket said that the tax holiday doesn’t usually create a larger than usual spike for his business, as the sales tax holiday does not come into play for food items. But he noted there are savings to be had for all non-food items such as paper towels and detergent.

“We don’t see that really large increase in customers, but hey, I like the idea behind it,” he said.

“Any time people can get away with not having to pay taxes and save some money, I’m all for it.”

The sales tax holiday does not apply to vehicles subject to title and license, meals prepared for consumption on premises or to-go and taxable services such as hotel occupancy, laundry services, printing services, telecommunication services, the furnishing of cold storage space, leases or rentals of tangible personal property, repairs to tangible personal property, and admission to athletic, amusement, or recreational facilities or events.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue advises shoppers to retain receipts for back-to-school items such as supplies, uniforms, and equipment required by schools.

These purchases may qualify for tax deductions on 2015 Louisiana Individual Income Tax Returns due May 15, 2016.

The deductions apply to educational expenses for public, private, parochial, and home schools. To claim the deductions, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your state individual income tax return, and you must be able to provide documentation for the expenses.


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