5 On Your Side

Wedding Gowns, Girdles Qualify For Tax Holiday

Posted August 4, 2006
Updated November 10, 2006

— Although North Carolina began an annual tax holiday six years ago as a way to save parents money on back-to-school shopping, much of what qualifies for the sales tax savings now has little -- if anything -- to do with school.

New clothes for a new school year fit the bill, but the state also exempts up to $100 in clothing like aprons, bathing suits, garter belts, girdles, panty hose, jogging suits and wedding apparel from sales tax during the tax holiday, which runs through Sunday night.

"For years, I've been trying to explain why a wedding dress under $100 is exempt," said Fran Preston, of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. "First of all, where do you buy a wedding gown under $100, and why would a wedding gown be on there? And the answer is that the (state) Department of Revenue has specific categories of what is apparel."

Weddings gowns, garter belts and aprons are as much apparel as blue jeans and sneakers, Preston said.

Other items covered under the tax-free guidelines are school supplies and related items such as calculators costing less than $100, sporting goods and recreation equipment costing less than $50 per item, athletic and non-athletic shoes costing less than $100, and computers along with monitor, mouse and speakers costing less than $3,500.

State officials estimate North Carolina residents have saved about $50 million in sales taxes since the tax holiday began. Shoppers also are saving through store sales that have started piggybacking on the annual weekend event.

"A lot of other stores are having stuff on sale that isn't on the (tax-free) list, but they know people are out, so they're giving the customer a break," shopper Beth Torruella.

For a complete list of items exempt from sales tax, visit the

N.C. Department of Revenue Web site

.

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