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Diane Miller
Back-to-school tax holiday
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    The Georgia Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday takes place Aug. 2-5. Certain purchases made over the holiday weekend will be exempt from state and local sales tax.
    Three types of goods are exempt from sales tax during the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday: clothing, personal computers and their accessories and school supplies.
    Clothing, including shoes, is exempt from sales tax as long as the item costs $100 or less. Jewelry, watches or watchbands, eye wear, handbags and umbrellas are not exempt.
    For computers and accessories for personal use, the limit is $1,500 for a single purchase. Be careful! If the single purchase exceeds $1,500, the entire purchase is not exempt from the sales tax. Practically anything needed to set up and operate a computer at home is exempt.
    School supplies up to $20 per item are exempt from the sales tax during the Sales Tax Holiday.
    Saving six or seven percent on purchases may not sound like much. The Sales Tax Holiday has become so big now that most retailers offer big sales to attract more business. The following tips from Michael Rupured, extension specialist for family economic well-being,  may help you to save time, money and frustration during what has become one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.
    - Know what is and is not exempt. The descriptions above can help. More detailed information is available from the Georgia Department of Revenue web site at
    - Do a little research. Besides knowing what items are and are not exempt from sales tax, check advertisements and flyers for sales. Look for manufacturer’s coupons for items you plan to buy. If you plan to purchase a computer, you will want to spend time gathering information about which features and options best meet your needs. You will also want to compare prices from different stores.
    - Shop with a list. Write down what each child needs in the way of clothing and school supplies. If computers or computer equipment are on your list, you may want to plan to purchase hardware at one location and software and other accessories at another to avoid the $1,500 limit. With gas prices as high as they are, it may also make sense to plan the route you will take.
    - Leave the kids at home. Most of the time, you will spend less without the kids around. If you need to bring a child along to try on clothing, consider making two trips. Go out by yourself to purchase school supplies and/or computers and accessories. While you are out, make note of any particularly good clothing sales and return to those stores later in the weekend with the kids.
    ‰ Avoid using credit. Unless you pay the balance in full with each statement, the interest you have to pay on a credit card balance can be high enough to offset any savings. To avoid temptation, leave your credit cards at home.
    ‰ Finally, bring along plenty of patience and a positive attitude. The stores, parking lots and roads around shopping centers are going to be busy and crowded. Check out lines will be long. If you do not enjoy shopping, the Sales Tax Holiday weekend might be a good time to stay at home.
    For more information on shopping and money management, contact Diane at (912) 871-0504, or
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