WEST HARTFORD — Here’s one opportunity to save on back to school shopping: tax-free week.
The state’s 10th annual sales tax-free week will begin Aug. 15 and run through Aug. 21. The tax holiday allows shoppers to purchase individual items of clothing and footwear priced under $300 without paying the usual 6 percent sales tax.
“Both consumers and retailers benefit from this annual end-of-summer ritual: Families get a price break and store owners get increased ‘foot traffic’ in their stores,” said Gov. Jodi Rell who kicked off the event yesterday at West Farms Mall. “That’s good for our economy and, in turn, good for keeping and growing jobs – our top mission right now.”
The sales tax free week increases the usual $50 exemption on clothing and footwear. Special clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use, accessories, and jewelry do not qualify for this exemption.
“Connecticut has one of the longest-running sales tax holidays and is one of the few states to give shoppers and retailers the benefit of an entire week of tax-free shopping,” said Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Richard Nicholson.
Shoppers can take advantage of sales, coupons and store discounts to build on the savings from the tax exemption. Because sales tax is applied after the use of any coupons or discounts, if the final price is less than $300, the sale is exempt, Rell said.
Layaways and rentals of clothing or footwear under $300 are also tax-free during the week. For purchases of $300 or more, sales tax is calculated on the full cost of the item.
For answers to questions about the Connecticut Sales Tax Holiday Week, the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) has posted details on its website at www.ct.gov/drs. The DRS website also has links to other publications to help consumers understand the regular sales and use tax exemption on clothing and footwear.
Tips for smart back-to-school
The best strategy for back-to-school shopping? Get organized, stock up on the basics, and look for sales and promotions.
Start your back-to-school shopping with a game plan. Even if your child’s teacher hasn’t provided a list of school supplies, you can’t go wrong by sticking with the basics and taking advantage of back-to-school sales (many states offer “tax-free days” during this season). Here’s how:
Make a list and get your child involved.
Use the recommended or required supplies from your child’s school or teacher as a starting point. If you don’t have a list yet, check with parents at your school who have older kids. They might have good advice about what is required in your child’s grade. Or check our recommendations for elementary,middle, and high school. Sit down with your child and go over your list together. You’ll be teaching her how to get organized, a skill that applies to more than shopping.
Separate wants from needs.
Most school supplies don’t go out of style, and your child will happily use the unsharpened pencils his older sister didn’t use. But as any parent with last year’s superhero notebook knows, beware the power of trends. Rather than getting into an argument with your older child about whether a backpack with headphones is essential because “everybody is getting one,” try setting a budget for supplies. It will help your child set priorities, learn how to manage money, and start saving his allowance for the items your budget won’t allow.
A note from the teacher: You’ll be doing your child’s teacher a favor if you stick to supplies without gimmicks. Pencil sharpeners that light up are distractions in class, says Jane Ann Robertson, Arizona’s 2004 Teacher of the Year and a GreatSchools consultant. “Keep supplies to the necessary and useful versus fancy and fun.”
Sort through last year’s supplies to see what is left over or can be reused. (Having trouble finding last year’s stuff? Resolve to set up a place to keep your school supplies together this year.)
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