Published 12:04 am Thursday, August 2, 2012


School starts in 18 days, and the countdown is on to find the best deals on back-to-school apparel, school supplies and the works.

Beginning Friday at 12:01 a.m., and ending Sunday at midnight, Alabama is participating in its seventh annual sales tax holiday, which gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers and clothing free of state sales tax.

Local and state governments have agreed to waive sales tax from selected items.

According to the Department of Revenue’s website, the cities of Andalusia, Opp and Florala, as well as Covington County have agreed to waive their portion of sales tax. The town of Gantt did not, and other county municipalities did not respond.

Ashley Eiland, executive vice president of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce, said she encourages everyone to shop locally.

“As the chamber of commerce, we like to see everyone shop locally, keeping the local monies flowing to our retail businesses, and the business owners who have invested in Andalusia,” she said. “Everything you can find out of town, your local merchants will be able to provide, usually at the same, with spending the gas.”

Emilee Gage, of the Opp Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

“Support Opp by shopping Opp,” she said. “Whether you need pencils, papers, crayons or apparel Opp has what you need. Local businesses support sporting events and community events, therefore we need to return the support.”

Exactly what is exempt, one may ask?

The majority of clothing items $100 or less are exempt from sales tax.

Computers and computer supplies are also exempt if costing no more than $750. School supplies, such as notebooks, calculators, pens and paper, index cards and scissors are also exempt as long as the individual price is $50 or less.

Items that are exempt include:

• Clothing: belts, boots, caps, coats, diapers, dresses, gloves, gym suits, hats, hosiery, jackets, jeans, neckties, pajamas, pants, raincoats, robes, sandals, scarves, school uniforms, shirts, shoes, shorts, socks, sneakers and underwear;

• Computer: laptop, desktop, tower computer system, school computer supplies, including computer storage media, personal digital assistants (no cell phones), computer printers, printer supplies;

Items that are not exempt include:

• Clothing accessories including, belt buckles, briefcases, cosmetics, hair notions, hand bags, handkerchiefs, jewelry, sewing materials and equipment, sunglasses, eye glasses, contacts, umbrellas, wallets, watches, wigs and hair pieces;

• Protective equipment including, breathing masks, clean room apparel and equipment, ear and hearing protectors, face shields, hard hats, helmets, paint or dust respirators, protective gloves, safety glasses and goggles, safety belts, tool belts, and welders gloves and masks;

• Sport or recreational equipment, including ballet or tap shoes, band instruments, cleated or spiked athletic shoes, gloves, hand and elbow guards, life preserves and vests, mouth guards, roller and ice skates, shin guards, shoulder pads, ski boots, waders, wetsuits and fins.