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Get ready for tax-free shopping bliss during the state’s annual weekend-long sales tax holiday that kicks off Friday through Sunday throughout South Carolina. The 6% state tax that shoppers usually pay will be waived in addition to applicable local taxes for both in-store and online purchases for certain items.

Exempt items include shoes, bedding, outerwear and activewear, art supplies, backpacks, handbags and computer printers. But there are lots of products that don’t qualify for tax exemption, such as digital cameras, smartphones, jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches and furniture.

  • For a full list of sales tax-free items, check out the DOR’s full guide to the tax holiday.

What is tax-free this weekend

Bottom line: If you want to save 6% or more, this weekend is an ideal time to stock up on back-to-school essentials, upgrade your computer and refresh your wardrobe. Check out the list below to take full advantage of the non-taxed opportunities that await this weekend. 

School supplies, including: art supplies, binders, folders, paper and notebooks, books, book bags, calculators, glue, tape, scissors, staples and staplers, planners, uniforms, lunch boxes, writing utensils, musical instruments.

Computers and technology, including: computers, computer accessories, printers and printing supplies, computer software.

Clothing, including: pants, jeans, shirts, dresses, belts, hats, leotards, swimwear, sleepwear, socks, underwear, sweaters, suits, coats, gloves, scarves, shoes, rain boots, skates, aprons, uniforms and formal wear.

What isn’t tax-free

Glasses, regular office supplies, cameras, smartphones, e-readers, video games, e-books, furniture, cookware, mattresses, hardware, briefcases, purses and wallets, cosmetics, glasses and sunglasses, jewelry, sports equipment, watches and non-school paper products such as tissues, paper towels and toilet paper.

Tips: Don’t throw caution to the wind

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCSDA) encouraged consumers Thursday to have a plan and be careful during tax-free weekend to make sure you get your money’s worth.  Some tips:

  • Make a list and stick to it. A shopping list will help save time and avoid impulse buying and overspending. For more tips on shopping and overspending, read SCDCA’s Shopping spotlight.
  • Be watchful if you are shopping online. Eligible items are still tax-free if you shop online.  And while it is convenient, there are scammers out there who are waiting to prey on you if you let down your guard.  The agency suggests that you look at this Cybersecurity Basics flyer to safely use digital devices.
  • Decide your payment method. If you have trouble sticking to a budget, pay with cash in a store.  If you prefer shopping online, a credit card offers more consumer fraud protections than a debit card. Some credit card companies now offer virtual credit card numbers that are one-time use, adding another layer of security as you shop online.
  • Review financial statements. The more often you use your credit and debit cards while shopping, the more opportunities for a thief to intercept your information. Read your financial statements during the tax-free weekend and beyond to make sure there are no errors or fraudulent charges. If there are, dispute them immediately.
  • Know the vendor’s return policy. Review return and exchange policies 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, such as computers.

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