The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 29, 2013

Oklahomans prepare for sales tax-free weekend

EDMOND — Oklahomans are looking forward to a tax-free weekend.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday, Oklahoma will hold a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax. This includes state and any local sales taxes.

The weekend will help businesses by providing a boost to the economy and the consumer will be able to save money while shopping for clothes and shoes.

Jerrod Shouse, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says this weekend’s sales-tax holiday will be a big help to small businesses struggling amid a wobbly economy.

“The sales-tax holiday is good for stores in general, but it could make a big difference for small businesses,” Shouse said. “The sales-tax holiday puts people in the mood to shop, and we’re hoping they buy at least some of their school clothes and supplies at small, locally owned businesses, because when you support small business, you support the community.”

“I look at this in two ways,” Shouse said. “We want to encourage folks to shop at a small business because it is good for the shopper. Superior customer services are offered because the shopper is usually dealing with the owner or someone knowledgeable with the services the store offers, and the shopper is able to shop in a different environment.”

The latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, released July 9, shows that small-business confidence sputtered and lost momentum in June. Eighteen percent of small-business owners surveyed reported “poor sales” as their biggest concern, up 2 points. Taxes and government rules and regulations ranked first with 20 percent each.

“Combined with the back-to-school sales a lot of stores are having right now, anyway, the sales-tax holiday is going to help people get a bigger bang for their buck,” Shouse said. “The more we can encourage people to spend money and shop at small businesses, the more jobs we’ll save, and the faster our economy will recover.”

Shouse said shopping at small business is good for community.

“Folks who own small businesses in Edmond are entrepreneurs,” Shouse said. “They truly do want to make the community better. Small business owners are supporters of schools and local organizations like Rotary. We feel like it is not only good for shoppers but they are helping make the community a better community. Helping small businesses helps the economy.”

Shouse said, according to the SBA, 98 percent of the private-sector employers are classified as small businesses, and they provide more than half of the work force.

“When the small business sector does well the community does well.”

Retailers are required to participate and may not charge sales tax on items that are legally tax-exempt during Oklahoma’s sales tax holiday. The sales tax holiday exempts the sale of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 from sales taxes.

Under the annual Oklahoma sales-tax holiday, approved by Oklahoma lawmakers in 2007, certain clothing and shoe purchases can be made sales-tax free. Qualified items are exempt from state, city and county sales taxes. Clothing and shoes that cost less than $100 individually are exempt from the sales tax. Items that cost more than $100 are taxable.

“Back-to-school shoppers can find great values on everything they need to get their families ready for a new school year at Kohl’s, including quality, national and exclusive brands at prices they can appreciate,” said Jen Johnson, Kohl’s director of public relations. “We know shoppers are focused on staying within budget, so Kohl’s incredible savings opportunities and customer-friendly conveniences make us a great choice for budget-conscious shoppers.”

The tax exemption also applies to shoes and clothing purchased at thrift stores or antique stores. And while many families take advantage of the holiday weekend as a time to save on clothing and shoes for school, many other clothing items are exempt, too.

Lab coats, uniforms and office-appropriate clothing also are tax free. And while certain athletic items for specific sports are not exempt, other sports items will be exempt.

David Burroughs, Academy store operations manager, said, “Some items that are taxable include belt buckles without belts and shoulder pads and baseball cleats but customers can still get a great deal on these and other items at Academy Sports and Outdoors.”  

On its website, the Oklahoma Tax Commission provides a long list of items that are exempt from sales tax during the three-day period. Among them are aprons, baby receiving blankets, bathing suits and caps, belts and suspenders, coats and jackets, diapers, formal wear, underwear, hats and caps, hosiery, insoles for shoes, neckties, rainwear, shoes and shoe laces, uniforms, wedding apparel and more.

Accessories including jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and other similar items are taxable. For a complete list, go online to http://www.tax.ok.gov/rules/sth6509.pdf.

TO LEARN MORE about the sales tax holiday, visit the Oklahoma Tax Commission’s website at http://www.tax.ok.gov/

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