It’s been an annual tradition for the past 13 years in Connecticut and this year is no different.
The state’s tax-free week begins Aug. 18 and ends Aug. 24 at stores across Connecticut and for many it marks the beginning of the back-to-school season. For others, it marks a day of freedom from the 6.35 percent sales tax.
“Connecticut’s sales tax free week on items clothing and shoes under $300 is a great break for everyone — but especially during this back-to-school and back-to-college season,” Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan said Monday. “Even better, merchants will be discounting higher-priced items to get to the tax free threshold. Shop on!”
This is the second year in which Connecticut has had a 6.35 percent sales tax. It was raised from 6 percent in 2011. The sales-tax exemption during tax-free week applies to most clothing and footwear under $300 after all coupons and discounts are applied.
The only goods not covered under the program are items that are solely intended for use in sporting activities, and accessories such as jewelry, watches, handbags, and wallets.
Republican Sens. Joseph Markley and Michael McLachlin were quick to email their constituents to remind them of the upcoming event.
“Between soaring gas taxes, high property taxes, and increased utility costs — not to mention the state income tax — Connecticut is an expensive place to live, and any amount of tax relief is welcome,” Markley wrote. “A bit of relief arrives soon, thanks to the annual Sales Tax Free Week, from August 18 through August 24.”
The state expects to lose about $7 million to $8 million in revenue from the week of tax-free shopping.
“In times like these, when it seems taxes keep going up and up and up, any tax relief is welcome,” McLachlan said. “You might also want to plan ahead for those pricey winter clothing purchases.”
However, according to the National Retail Federation’s back-to-school survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, back-to-school spending this year will be down from last year.
Families with school-age children will spend an average of $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics, down from $688.62 last year, according to the survey.
“The good news is that consumers are spending, but they are doing so with cost and practicality in mind. Having splurged on their growing children’s needs last year, parents will ask their kids to reuse what they can for the upcoming school season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release. “As they continue to grapple with the impact of increased payroll taxes, Americans will look to cut corners where they can, but will buy what their kids need. It’s important to note, however, that spending levels are still well above where they were a few years ago.”
The biggest portion of back-to-school shoppers’ budgets will go toward new apparel and accessories: 95.3 percent of those with school-age children will spend an average of $230.85 on fall sweaters, denim, and other clothing. Families will spend an average of $114.39 on shoes and $90.49 on school supplies.
Sales tax will still be levied on school supplies and accessories in Connecticut even from Aug. 18 through Aug. 24.
The National Retail Federation survey also found that the economy continues to weigh upon the minds of average families. The survey found eight in 10 school shoppers or 80.5 percent say economic conditions will change their spending in some way. Some will turn to the Internet to save money. The survey found 36.6 percent say they will do more comparative shopping online and 18.5 percent will shop online more often.
For those extra small purchases, teens will dole out about $30.13 of their own money and pre-teens will spend an average $18.45 — both numbers are down slightly from last year.
Click here to read the entire survey.