Take a break from South Carolina sales tax in August (update: now)

Image by Flickr user the justified sinner

Update August 6th: You parents likely don't need reminding that the sales tax weekend is underway, but all you regular consumers don't forget that this is the big weekend where you can make many a big ticket item and saving some 8.5% on it.

Like, you know, a new laptop. 

If you're lost all the details you need are below.

First reporting: Attention, shoppers! South Carolina's 12 annual Sales Tax Holiday weekend is only a few weeks away, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on August 5th and continuing until midnight on August 7th.

That's right--if you're in need of back-to-school supplies, clothes, computers, housewares, or just about anything else that normally comes with our state's 6% sales tax, make sure that you take advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday and save.

The official reason for the tax holiday is to give shoppers the chance to save on their back-to-school needs. However, you don't have to have kids or be in school to take advantage of the sales tax savings.

But be aware: The holiday doesn't apply to everything, including jewelry, eyewear, watches, cosmetics, clothing or shoe rentals, wallets, items placed on layaway, items for use at a business, or furniture.

As a rule of thumb, if the item could in any way be conceived to be used by a student, it will qualify for the sales-tax break (computers, sheets, shoes, pens; but not cookware, jewelry, and greeting cards). But, a few things you might expect to be on sale won't be, (i.e. Golf clubs, no; Capri pants, yes). The list of discounted items remains the same as last year.

full list of the exempt and non-exempt items as well as answers to some oft-asked questions is available on SCTax.org. North Carolina and Tennessee also hold their sales tax holidays the same weekend — Georgia has once again canceled their weekend.

And if you're not a crowd-lover, know this: The tax-free weekend is the third business time of the year to shop...so it's sure to be a little chaotic out there.

According to a survey done by the National Retail Federation, the average family will spend some $606.40 -- and at a 6% tax that's some $36 in savings. 

(Update July 14 with more details, links.)

Update August 1: This upcoming weekend is sure to be insane--that's right, folks. It's tax-free weekend.

And it couldn't have come at a better time for parents of back-to-schoolers. This weekend, South Carolina establishments will be offering certain items for sale free of sales tax.

Stagecoach, a school uniform and apparel retail store, is typically not open on Sundays--but they open on Sundays two weeks prior to tax-free weekend, the Sunday of, and the Sunday after.

Half-Moon Outfitters is another local retailer that expects to be swamped this weekend. They anticipate selling quite a few pairs of shoes, backpacks, and lightweight jackets.

The International Council of Shopping Centers predicts that this weekend will see a 3 percent rise in sales. However, the National Retail Federation forecasts that back-to-school purchases will slightly decrease this year.

But local merchants are more confident, anticipating that the sales tax-free weekend will see an increase in purchases.

Get more info on the forecast for the weekend over at The Post and Courier.