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Take advantage of sales tax holiday

Alabama’s 10th annual back-to-school sales tax holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7, and end at midnight, Sunday, Aug. 9.

During the holiday, the state’s 4-percent sales tax will be waived throughout the state. Taxes will also be waived on the following items: clothing priced at $100 or less, school supplies valued at $50 or less, books that cost $30 or less, and computers or computer equipment with a selling price of $750 or less.

We encourage all citizens to take advantage of the sales tax holiday. Here are some facts about the holiday, courtesy of the Alabama Retail Association:

• Alabama was among the first states to have a sales tax holiday — The state first instituted the holiday 10 years ago, and was among the first six states in the United States.

• Alabama offers more tax-free items than Mississippi or Florida — Only clothes and shoes are tax-free in Mississippi, and Florida has a lower threshold for school supplies and offers no tax break for books.

• The average Alabama family with school age children could save close to $63, and those with college age children could save as much as $96.

• Alabamians will spend more than $1 billion on back-to-school shopping. The nation is expected to spend more than $68 billion. For many businesses, the back-to-school season is the second busiest time of the year — the holidays are first.

• Alabama’s consumer spending is up in August — The state is expected to spend closer to $4.6 billion on all sales, not just back-to-school sales. That is an increase of 3 percent from 2014, when Alabamians spent about $4.5 billion in August.

• The tax holiday is for everybody, not just those who are going back to school — The items that are tax free are used by a wide range of consumers, not just those who are in school. Those interested in filling out their wardrobes and stocking their libraries and home offices can also benefit from buying during the tax-free weekend.