back to school supplies

Target backroom senior team leader Georgetter Oliver and ETL sales floor employee Jose Ensenat stock back to school supplies at the store.

Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News

Unlike in years past, there will not be a back-to-school sales tax holiday this summer for items such as school supplies, computers and clothes.

In 2016 the State of Georgia offered two tax-free weekends, but this year Georgia lawmakers did not pass legislation which would have renewed those tax holidays. The sales tax holidays included a tax-free weekend for energy and water-efficient products, as well as a weekend for back-to-school supplies and clothes.

The back-to-school tax holiday last year, which occurred on July 30-31, exempted certain clothes, computers and school supplies from the normal 7 percent sales tax. The tax holiday would have applied to clothing priced at $100 or less per item, electronics priced at $1,000 per item or less and school supplies priced at $20 or less per item. This year the tax free weekend would have run from July 29-30.

“It will definitely affect our Brunswick store,” said Elizabeth Jordan, owner of Gentleman’s and Lady Outfitters on St. Simons Island and Athletic Outfitters in Glynn Place Mall. “On the flip side, people are starting their shopping earlier because they know we’re not having (a tax free weekend).”

Jordan said despite Florida’s sales tax holiday, Aug. 4-6, she hopes people will still buy locally.

“We hope people will continue to shop at local businesses, and hopefully (shopping) will just be spread out over four weeks instead of just one weekend,” Jordan said.

Nate Rickansrud, manager of Target’s Brunswick location, said it’s too early to tell what the full effects of not having a tax-free weekend this year will be. However, he is not overly concerned.

“I don’t anticipate a lot of (people going to Florida to shop),” Rickansrud said. “I think if we’re good with our marketing and promotions, we’ll do good business here.”

The local Target is already seeing more people shopping early for back-to-school supplies this year, purchases from people who might otherwise have waited for a sales tax holiday, he said.

“We’ve already got our back-to-school stuff set and we’re already seeing heavier traffic,” Rickansrud said.

Georgia’s neighboring states — including Florida, Alabama and South Carolina — will continue to have tax holidays this year.

During Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday, school supplies priced at $15 or less, clothing priced at $60 or less and computers and computer-related items priced at $750 or less, will be exempt from sales taxes, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.

The President of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, Woody Woodside, said he was surprised the sales tax holiday was not renewed this year. Not having a sales tax holiday might put Georgia on a less even playing field with Florida and Georgia’s other neighbors who will have the sales tax holiday this year, according to Woodside.

“The local retail community has always welcomed (the sales tax) holiday, ” Woodside said. “We find it very beneficial.”