It's almost here: The tax free sale weekend

Image by Flickr user the justified sinnerImage by 20090802-sale.jpg

Effectively save 7 to 8% on many, many things this coming weekend. Friday, August 7 marks the start of South Carolina's annual back-to-school "Sales Tax Holiday."

The sale ends Sunday, August 9, at midnight.

The back-to-school sales tax holiday also brings good sales as retailers compete amongst each other for your business.

Sale signs
Get it while it's cheap. Keep up with the big sales in the Charleston-area at our sales topic page.Generally $2.8 million in taxes are not paid by shoppers when the state and local taxes are suspended on most clothing, shoes, school supplies, book bags, computers and more. This will be the ninth time since the sales tax break started in 2000. The weekend has since become the state's third busiest shopping period of the year.

What is and isn't on sale

As a rule of thumb, if the item could in any way be conceived to be used by a student, it will qualify for the sales-tax break (computers, sheets, shoes, pens; but not cookware, jewelry, and greeting cards). But, a few things you might expect to be on sale won't be, (i.e. Golf clubs, no; Capri pants, yes). The list of discounted items remains the same as last year. A full list of the exempt and non-exempt items as well as answers to some oft-asked questions is available on Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee also hold their sales tax holidays the same weekend.

This weekend is one of the few days that I buy a paper. You can generally find all the ads online, but that can be a pain.

Note: 7.5% is the Charleston County sales tax on many goods (6% state tax, 1% local option sales tax, 0.5% transportation tax), Berkeley County has an 8% rate, and Dorchester County has a 7% rate. A full list of state sales taxes is available at the South Carolina Department of Revenue.