Despite the state’s looming budget deficit, residents will still enjoy the annual Sales Tax Holiday Week — but they won’t be able to save on as many items as they could in past years.
This year’s tax-free week begins this Sunday and runs through Aug. 22. Throughout the week, qualifying clothing and footwear items costing less than $100 each will be exempt from state sales tax.
In past years, the tax holiday allowed shoppers to avoid sales tax on items that cost less than $300, but the threshold for tax exemption was lowered this year as state lawmakers grapple with a sizeable budget deficit.
The Department of Revenue Services estimates the state will forgo roughly $6 million in sales and use tax income during the tax-free week. In lowering the price threshold, however, the state’s loss is expected to be about $1 million less than during last year’s tax-free week, according to DRS.
This is the 15th consecutive year Connecticut has held the tax holiday week.
The tax holiday can be enjoyed by all shoppers, but is timed each August specifically to help families who are back-to-school shopping. Connecticut is one of 16 states nationwide offering sales tax holiday this month.
“Connecticut consumers plan their back-to-school shopping and retailers plan some of their best bargains around the annual tax-free week,” DRS Commissioner Kevin Sullivan said in a statement. “We hope everyone will take the opportunity to make their shopping dollars go farther and give a boost to our state’s economy.”
The one-week tax exclusion applies to qualifying sales made by Connecticut and out-of-state retailers to Connecticut consumers, according to DRS.
It also applies to each individual item of clothing or footwear sold, regardless of how many items a customer purchases on the same invoice. If a shopper buys three pairs of $75 sneakers, for instance, they are all tax-exempt since each individual pair is less than $100, even though the total amount spent exceeds $100.
Individual items that cost $100 or more are subject to the usual 6.35-percent sales tax.
Learn more about the tax holiday, including what purchases qualify, at the DRS website, which is available at this shortened url: http://bit.ly/drs-tax-free-week.
Back-to-school shopping is big business for retailers in Connecticut and nationwide, though analysts expect consumers to spend a bit less this year than they did when school shopping last year.
The average family with children in kindergarten through high school plans to spend $630.36 on back-to-school shopping this year, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation. That’s down from an average of $669.28 last year.
Total back-to-school spending nationwide, for those with children in kindergarten through high school, is expected to reach $24.9 billion. Include those families with college students, and the the spending is expected to reach $68 billion nationwide, according to NRF’s survey.
Based on consumers’ responses to the survey, families expect to spend an average of $212.82 on school clothes, $197.24 on electronics, $97.74 on school supplies, and $117.56 on new shoes.
“Spending on back to school has consistently fluctuated based on children’s needs each year, and it’s unlikely most families would need to restock and replenish apparel, electronics, and supplies every year,” NRF President and CEP Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Parents this summer will inventory their children’s school supplies and decide what is needed and what can be reused, which just makes good budgeting sense for families with growing children.”