CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It’s the event families with school-age children look forward to each August, even though school this year will look different.
South Carolina’s annual Sales Tax Holiday kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday, giving families the chance to save on a variety of back-to-school and household items.
Shoppers can by items like computers, printers, school supplies, clothing and accessories, footwear, and certain bed and bath items without paying the 6% sales tax and applicable local taxes.
Items that are not tax-free during the Sales Tax Holiday include digital cameras, smartphones, jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches, furniture, rental clothing or footwear, and items for use in a trade or business.
Online purchases of eligible items are tax-free, too, according to SCDOR. The agency says shoppers should also check with their retailers for online shopping, delivery or pick-up options. Shoppers who shop in stores should practice social distancing, wear face coverings and follow other guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Last year, South Carolina shoppers bought more than $21.7 million in tax-free items during the Sales Tax Holiday.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs encourages consumers to navigate this shopping weekend with a thoughtful plan involving the following tips:
- Be on-guard as you shop online. Because of Coronavirus, you may be looking to do your back-to-school shopping online. SCDCA has compiled five ways to keep your information safe while browsing and buying online.
- Check mask ordinances, guidelines and store offerings before heading out. If you choose to shop in-store, double check for mask ordinances in the city/county the store is located so you can be prepared. Many stores offer delivery or curbside pick-up to simplify your shopping trip. Make sure to read the terms and conditions to find out if there are any fees associated with these extra services.
- Decide your payment method. When shopping in a store, pay with cash if you have trouble sticking to a budget. If you prefer shopping online, a credit card offers more consumer fraud protections than a debit card.
- Make a list and stick to it. Review the Department of Revenue’s website for a general list of items that are tax exempt as well as ones that are not. A list will help save time and avoid impulse buying and overspending.
- Know the return policy. Review return and exchange policies online so you know before you go. Don’t see it in store? Ask, especially if you are purchasing items that often have a restocking fee, like computers.
- Review financial statements. Security breaches often happen during heavily trafficked shopping times. Read your financial statements during the tax-free weekend and beyond, ensuring there are no errors or fraudulent charges. If there are, dispute them immediately.
Consumers with questions about the tax-free weekend can call SCDCA toll-free in SC at 1-800-922-1594.