A little more than a week before schools reopen, retailers and shoppers are gearing up for the fifth annual back-to-school sales tax holiday.
Mississippi’s sales tax holiday starts Friday at 12:01 a.m. and ends Saturday at midnight.
The sales tax break will help shoppers on clothing and shoes that are priced less than $100 each. Qualified items include clothes, coats and shoes that aren’t for special activities.
School supplies, book bags, most accessories and computers aren’t included in the annual tax holiday.
In Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana, those items are included in their tax holidays.
“There will be huge crowds as usual taking advantage of the tax holiday,” said Jeff Snyder, general manager of The Mall at Barnes Crossing, “but I’d like to see more items that are exempt so that we can better compete with Alabama and Tennessee.”
The mall is extending its hours on both days, staying open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.
While individual items can’t cost more than $100 each to qualify for the tax break, shoppers have no limits on how much they can spend.
Cindy Childs, the mall’s marketing director, said shoppers also will find additional bargains this weekend.
“A lot of retailers have great promotions going on, so shoppers might get 40 percent, 50 percent or more off items, on top of the sales tax break,” she said.
For families with kids going back to school, the savings add up.
“We’ve got two kids, but by the time you buy their school supplies and the new clothes and shoes they need, every little discount helps,” said Bart Crayton.
Accessories like barrettes and backpacks are not eligible for the sales tax holiday. However, ties, tights, belts and veils do qualify. Raincoats and rain hats are tax-exempt, but overshoes and galoshes are not.
Most sport-specific equipment – such as pads, cleats, gloves, goggles, swim fins and helmets that are used only on the field – are not eligible for the tax holiday. However some items like baseball and football jerseys, caps, tennis skirts, swimsuits and work uniforms are covered.
But not everyone is prepared to battle with the crowds this weekend.
Terri Cook did her back-to-school shopping earlier this week, and said she’ll wait until the rush is over before hitting the stores again.
“If you wait until Friday or Saturday it’s like shopping on Black Friday,” she said. “Once a year is enough for me.”
Michaela Gibson Morris contributed to this report.
• A complete list of eligible and ineligible items for the sales tax holiday is available from the Mississippi Department of Revenue website at www.tax.ms.gov.