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Ready, set, shop: NC tax-free weekend kicks off

Posted August 2, 2012
Updated August 3, 2012

— North Carolina’s annual sales tax holiday began Friday, offering savvy shoppers a chance to save some change on items ranging from school supplies to wedding dresses.

The combined state and local sales tax rate across North Carolina is 6.75 percent. It’s 7 percent in Durham, Orange, Cumberland, Lee and Sampson counties.

"It's a very big deal because it saves lots of money," one Fayetteville shopper said, "Especially when you're on a tight budget."

But not everything is included. Sales tax holiday Shoppers look to save on tax and more

The popular event, which began in 2002, includes clothing, footwear and school supplies of $100 or less per item; school instructional materials of $300 or less per item; sports and recreational equipment of $50 or less per item; computers of $3,500 or less per item; and computer supplies of $250 or less per item.

Tablet computers and netbooks of $3,500 or less per item qualify, but eReaders do not.

The holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and lasts until 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Participation in the sales tax holiday is required. Retailers cannot opt out or charge sales tax and tell shoppers to request a refund from the Department of Revenue.

Items are not necessarily exempt from sales tax just because they are required by a child’s school or sports team. File: Tax-free weekend Smart Shopper Faye Prosser shares strategies for tax-free weekend

To promote the event, Gov. Bev Perdue shopped Friday at a Walmart in New Bern, filling a backpack with school supplies.

Visit the department’s website for more information and a complete list of qualifying items.


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  • KniftyKnitter Aug 3, 2012

    Does anyone know if an iPod Touch would be exempt? It does kind of fit the "electronic device" description on the DOR website.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 3, 2012

    This is the only time that I go to a retail store and buy anything in North Carolina other than food or fuel. So I am done for this year and will begin on my list of items I will need next year during the time when the onerous sales taxes are lifted.

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Aug 3, 2012

    Thanks Mon Account.. I had found the same. Nothing about NC. I guess I could just call to some local stores and ask them. Thanks for your search!!

  • Mon Account Aug 3, 2012

    Regarding eReader/tablets, eReaders are called out as not tax-free because it is a computer. Tablets are called out as tax-free.

    (also a link in the 'related' section under the picture in the article).

    iPads are tablets- you can try calling a few stores to see how they are handling them.

    Regarding layaway, I've not found NC-specific rules (which would help!) but I found this for TN & VA (and similar wording in other states):

    "Qualified items previously placed on layaway are exempt when the final payment is made during the holiday. Items are also exempt if placed on layaway during the holiday and the final payment is made after the exemption period."

    Hope this helps!

  • mmtlash Aug 3, 2012

    y'all will bicker about anything won't you?

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Aug 3, 2012

    ****Does anyone know if I can do a layaway and it be tax free??!!!???**** Ive searched online but can not find an answer in the NC rules. I realllly need to shot, but payday isnt until next week. I would love to layaway and then get it out in a week.

  • WageSlave Aug 3, 2012

    sponke like a true sheep le...

    Not sure how I qualify as a "sheep". Not very original but its a slow Friday so I will bite. What makes me a sheep? My quest for TRUE freedom through individual responsibility and freedom? Or it is simply because I don't support Obomney?

  • WageSlave Aug 3, 2012

    Republicans want government to be out of sight out of mind. Let us be free.

    You really believe that? Have you read the Patriot Act and the NDAA? Have you looked at the republican/democratic agenda in the past 50 years? Yea you are free as long as you pay your taxes and do what you told with minimal complaining.

    None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. – Goethe

  • piene2 Aug 3, 2012

    Oh rats! I had to pay sales tax at the Alcoholic Beverage Control store and the wine shop. It is the liberals I tell you. The liberals made me pay sales tax at the Alcoholic Beverage Control store and the wine shop. It is because of Obamacare.

  • Mo Blues Aug 3, 2012

    "Well, I just left Target and Ipads are not tax free there. Was told Ipads are "classified as ereaders" and therefore not exempt."

    The same with books I found out today. Here's a back-to-school bone from your government. God forbid we give a break to anyone wanting to buy books or eReaders. You can buy the most expensive Apple MacBook and get the tax break, and you even get a tax break for everything you buy at Victoria's Secret.

    Books? eReaders? For school? Not so much.