SPARTANBURG (WSPA) – If you’re prepping for the tax free holiday weekend in South Carolina, we’ve got you covered.
You’ve asked us to find out everything from which items are on the list to whether online purchases also count.
So we got answers, and you may be a bit surprised to learn what’s exempt, what’s not, and how to beat the crowds.
Book bags, not camping backpacks. Cloth Towels, not paper. Batting gloves, not baseball mitts.
The list of what’s exempt and what’s not for the upcoming tax free holiday in South Carolina is not exactly uncomplicated.
Take computer accessories, “for example your keyboard, monitor, if you buy them with a computer you’re going to get those tax free, however without a computer you’re still charged sales tax,” Stephen Mills, Store Manager of Spartanburg Best Buy, said.
To understand the logic, we called the state’s foremost retail expert.
We asked her how legislators decide what is exempt and what is not, as people may wonder why furs and corsets are accepted.
She told us it depended on “what kind of industry are they trying to stimulate for sale, and also what category is it in, because clothing is included and that’s why furs are in there,” Marianne Bickel, The Department Chair of Retailing at USC, said.
We also asked the Department of Revenue about what’s not on either list, like tablets. Turns out they are exempt as long as they are meant to function as portable computers. Cell phones, e-readers, and mp3s are not.
Wilhelmena McCraby’s new laptop is exempt. She’s even taking advantage of Best Buy’s free pre-order event.
The store will set aside your item and open two hours early Friday to let you buy it before the crowds.
“It’s wonderful because I can even update a bigger screen size for the money I save on tax,” Wilhelmena McCraby said.
Add to that, store sales, and the crowds are more bearable.
Daryl Lyerly, the Store Manger of Spartanburg Sears, said the store is “running the 60% off for back to school clothing, also look for the 20% coupon.”
Don’t assume everything a student would need for their dorm room is on the list, for instance refrigerators, food, even toiletries are not exempt. And pretty much everything having to do with bedding is.
Adult diapers and garter belts are some exempt items that may surprise you.
But when we’re all saving, who’s arguing.
McCraby said, “They deserve to have taxes off their garter belts, too. Go for it.”
As for online purchases, the Department of Revenue tells us those are also also exempt as long as what you’re buying is on the list.
You not only pay for it, but the retailer accepts the payment before the holiday runs out.
Tax Free Weekend starts Friday at 12:01 a.m. and runs until Sunday at midnight.
You can find more details in the SC Revenue Ruling 10-7 on the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s website.
Exempt items include:
- Adult diapers
- Aerobic clothing
- Antique clothing
- Athletic or sport uniforms or clothing (but not equipment such as mitts, helmets and pads)
- Baby bibs
- Baby clothes
- Baby diapers (cloth or disposable)
- Baby shoes
- Bath mats
- Bath rugs
- Bath towels (all sizes, including beach towels)
- Bath washcloths
- Bathing caps
- Bathing suits
- Bathing trunks
- Beach capes and coats
- Bed comforters and bed comforter sets
- Bed duvets and covers
- Bed linens, including baby bumper pads, canopies, baby crib padding, bed skirts, box spring covers, dust ruffles, mattress pads, mattress toppers, pillow covers, and shams.
- Bed pillowcases
- Bed pillows (e.g. baby pillows, body pillows, husband pillows, throw pillows)
- Bed sheets and bed sheet sets
- Bed spreads
- Belt buckles
- Blankets such as afghan, baby, electric and throw blankets
- Bobby pins
- Boots (climbing, hiking, riding, ski, waders, fishing, cowboy)
- Bow ties
- Bridal gowns and veils (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Capri pants
- Coats, capes and wraps
- Computer hardware service contracts sold in conjunction with computers
- Computer software
- Computer software service contracts sold in conjunction with computer software
- Computer software service contracts when the true object of the contract is to obtain computer software updates during the contract period
Note: The following are examples of devices that are not considered computers for purposes of the sales tax holiday exemption: cell phones, smartphones or any other handheld devices that allow users to make telephone calls; handheld devices that are primarily used to download and listen to music; handheld devices that are primarily used to download and watch videos; and devices that are primarily used to download and read books (e-books). However, portable devices that have computing and media functions, allow users to access the Internet and have a multitude of software applications (or the capability to download a multitude of software applications) are considered computers for purposes of the sales tax holiday exemption, provided such devices do not allow users to make telephone calls.
Note: The sale of a computer monitor, keyboard, or scanner by itself would not be exempt during the sales tax holiday. If a monitor, keyboard or scanner is purchased as part of a package that included the computer processing unit, then that is one transaction to purchase a computer and the sale of the packaged unit (CPU, monitor, keyboard, scanner) is exempt. The sale of a digital music player, digital camera, cell phone or a smartphone, whether or not purchased in conjunction with a computer processing unit (CPU), is not exempt during the sales tax holiday.
- Corset laces
- Costumes (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Daily planners or organizers when used by school children as a school supply
- Dress shields
- Elastic ponytail holders
- Fishing boots
- Formal clothing (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Garters/garter belts
- Gloves, including those for batting, bicycle, dress, garden, golf, ski, tennis
- Graduation caps and gowns (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Gym suits
- Hair bows
- Hair clips
- Hand muffs
- Hunting vests
- Ice skates (rentals are taxable)
- In-line skates (rentals are taxable)
- Jogging suits
- Leg warmers
- Leotards and tights
- Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs (PDAs are hand-held computers used as daily planners. Please note that the exemption does not apply to cell phones with a PDA, computer applications or similar components.)
- Pillow cases
- Pillows (all types)
- Printer supplies. Note: replaceable ink cartridges used in printers are exempt from tax as “printer supplies”
- Printers, but replacement parts are taxable
- Prom dress (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Riding pants
- Roller skates, provided the skates are permanently attached to the boots.
- School supplies, including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, blue books, bookbags, lunchboxes, musical instruments (but only if the musical instrument is used in the classroom or at home in relation to school assignments).
Note: Items such as refrigerators, toiletries, bicycles and food purchased by college students are not school supplies and not exempt from the tax.
- School uniforms
- Scout uniforms
- Shawls and wraps
- Shoes, including ballet, baseball, bicycle, boat, boots, bowling (taxed if rented), cleated, cross trainers, flip-flops, football, golf, jazz/dance, soccer, track, in-line skates, ice skates, running, etc.) (rentals are taxable)
- Shoulder pads for dresses, jackets, etc. (but not athletic or sport protective pads)
- Shower curtains and liners (shower curtain hooks and rings and shower curtain rods are taxable)
- Ski boots (snow) (rentals are taxable)
- Ski masks
- Ski suits (snow)
- Skin diving suits
- Sport clothing and uniforms, but not equipment such as mitts, helmets, and pads.
- Sport jacket
- Support hosiery
- Sweat suits
- Towels of all types and sizes, including bath, beach, kitchen, and sport towels. Paper towels are taxable.
- Tuxedo (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
- Wet and dry suits
Nonexempt items include:
- Any clothing or footwear that is rented
- Any item (whether sold or leased) used in a trade or business
- Any item placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plan
- Backpacks for hiking and camping (bookbags for school are exempt)
- Bathroom accessories or supplies, including soap, shower curtain hooks and rings, shower curtain rods, toothbrush holders, towel holders, tissue box covers, toilet paper, wastebaskets.
- Box springs
- Cell phones
- Change purse
- Clocks, including alarm clocks and wall clocks
- Clothing that is rented
- Computer parts
- Costume rentals
- Daily planners or organizers when not used by school children as a school supply
- Digital cameras
- Digital music players
- Employee uniforms
- Footwear that is rented
- Formal clothing that is rented
- Gift wrapping paper
- Golf clubs
- Greeting cards
- Hardware, including hand tools, power tools, etc.
- Health food supplements
- Helmets, including sport, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.
- Hobby equipment, supplies and toys
- Key cases
- Mitts, including a baseball fielder’s mitt, hockey, etc. However, a batting glove is exempt.
- Music players
- Music tapes, records and compact discs
- Paper products that are not school supplies such as greeting cards and gift wrapping paper, etc.
- Paper towels
- Personal flotation devices
- Printer replacement parts
- Protective masks and goggles, including for athletics, sports or work
- Roller skates not permanently attached to the boot
- Safety clothing for use in a trade or business
- Safety glasses and goggles
- Safety shoes for use in a trade or business
- School office and janitorial supplies
- Sewing accessories
- Sheet stretchers
- Shin guards and padding
- Shoulder pads, including those for football and hockey
- Shower curtain hooks and rings
- Shower curtain rods
- Sleeping bags
- Sporting equipment, including baseball mitts, golf clubs, helmets, hockey mitts, life jackets and vests, masks, pads, swim fins, swimming masks and goggles
- Stereo equipment
- Table cloths
- Table placemats and other table supplies such as napkins and napkin holders
- Tissue box covers
- Toilet paper
- Toothbrush holders
- Towel holders
- Watch bands
- Window curtains
- Window treatments such as curtains, drapes, shades, valances