Take advantage of tax-free holiday


Although we support the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to collect sales tax on online purchases, we also believe families should take advantage of the tax relief offered by this weekend’s sales tax holiday.

This year’s event begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Although it’s often thought of as a back-to-school event and it offers parents buying school clothes and school supplies a welcome break, the tax holiday can benefit many people. Clothing items costing less than $100, accessories including cosmetics costing less than $50, school supplies including art supplies and instructional supplies, will all be exempt from state and local sales tax.

The sales tax exemption can also be a boon to retailers. Although many of the items sold this weekend are purchases that consumers would buy whether or not they had to pay tax, less tax means more money available for purchases. The National Federation of Independent Business in Arkansas touts the opportunity for people to make purchases at small, independently owned, local businesses.

Sylvester Smith, state director of NFIB, says the sales tax holiday can offer some good news to retailers in a sluggish economy.

“The sales-tax holiday is good for stores in general, but it really could make a big difference for small businesses,” Smith said in a news release. “The sales-tax holiday puts people in the mood to shop, and we’re hoping they buy at least some of their school clothes and supplies at small, locally owned businesses, because when you support small business, you’re supporting your community.”

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index released July 9 showed small-business confidence lost momentum in June. Of those small businesses surveyed, 18 percent ranked poor sales as their greatest concern; 20 percent ranked taxes first, and 20 percent put government regulation in that spot. The tax holiday would seem to address all three issues.

We know that the discounts offered in big chain stores help parents make good purchases for their children, and we are glad they have that option. But we also know some customers are looking for items a little out of the mainstream, something a little less predictable. We want to remind those folks that dollars spent in smaller stores put money right back into our community and help preserve the choices we all want in our shopping.