Tax-free shopping weekend begins
COLUMBIA (WACH/AP) -- The first day of August means parents are starting to get ready for the new school year. They will be getting help from the state of South Carolina.
Shoppers in South Carolina can avoid paying taxes on everything from aprons to waders during the state's tax-free weekend.
That is good news for Midlands parents as they can expect to pay as much as 6 percent more to send their children to grades K-12 this year, according to the 2012 Huntington Backpack Index.
The S.C. Department of Revenue says the event was under way at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight on Sunday. he S.C. Department of Revenue says the event was under way at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight on Sunday.
The event is designed to help families save money on back-to-school items. Exempted items include clothing, footwear, and school supplies such as pens, pencils, binders, paper, notebooks, lunch boxes and calculators. It also includes computers, printers and computer software.
The savings mean a lot for families. Director of Retail for USC Marianne Bickle said families need to be wise with the money they save.
"This weekend is a perfect opportunity to put all of the money saved from the sales tax and put it in a savings account," Bickle said. "Instead of using all of the money you saved from the sales tax and going out to lunch, put it in a savings account, and keep building up that money. And you would be surprised at how well off you would be."
While shoppers save, the state takes a bit of a loss for the three days. The state Revenue Department says the tax holiday costs about $3 million in lost tax revenues.
Also among the items are aprons, bow ties, corsets, hunting vests, ski masks and waders.
Not exempt are cameras, cellphones, music players, stereo equipment, sunglasses and wallets.
You can see a list what is and is not sales tax exempt on the Department of Revenue's website.
We would like to know how much you have budgeted for this years return to school. Are there any tips that you can recommend to other parents? Leave us a comment here, on our Facebook page, or tweet us @wachfox.
(The Associates Press contributed to this report.)