Next weekend, Aug. 5 - 7, certain clothing items, school supplies, books and electronics will be tax-free as part of the 11th annual Alabama Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday.
The state's 4 percent sales tax will be waived throughout the state on clothing priced at $100 or less, school supplies valued at $50 or less, books costing $30 or less and computers and computer equipment selling at $750 or less.
The tax-free holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 5 and end at midnight on Aug. 7 and applies in local stores and online, if purchasing from an Alabama retailer.
Jennifer Fincher, vice president of communications with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, said the sales tax holiday is a good time to support local business.
"Our Shop Auburn campaign — that's sort of an ongoing campaign. We do two major pushes. One is at Christmas, and one is back-to-school," Fincher said. "Those are both huge shopping times and times when everyone is shopping. It's just really important to keep those tax dollars right here; it's an easy choice that helps the community."
Nancy Dennis, director of public relations for the Alabama Retail Association, said the back-to-school tax holiday is a lot of retailers' second biggest weekend of the year behind Christmas shopping in late November and December.
The ARA monitors the weekend's impact on the stores by looking at the amount of sales tax collected.
"Even though taxes aren't being collected on a great deal of items, people are still out shopping for items that will be taxed," Dennis said. "We have tracked every August since the sales tax holiday started. With the exception of two years, there's been an increase in the amount of sales taxes being collected ... This weekend has not hurt tax collections."
Dennis said there are some misconceptions about what will be tax-free and also some items that people are surprised to find will be tax-free.
"Schools usually put out a supply list for their classes. It doesn't cover everything on that supply list," she said. "Most lists will include wipes and paper towels, and those things are not tax-free. It's only things that are really used in a classroom.
"Then there are things that are tax-free that people don't realize, things like diapers — they're considered clothing — hats, e-readers and tablets."
And since clothing and electronics are on the list, Dennis said the weekend also caters to consumers who don't have school-age kids.
"You can buy a wedding dress if you wanted to if you could find one for under $100 dollars," she said. "It's really for everybody, and there are many things that everybody would benefit from."
To see how to access your Auburn City Schools supply list, see A5.