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School supplies are tax free this weekend

CHAMBERS COUNTY — The Greater Valley Area is celebrating a state-wide holiday this weekend, but it is not one that holds traditions, has songs or is involved any kind of ceremony.

The Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday was started in 2004 by Alabama as a way for residents and visitors to save money on the necessary supplies for the upcoming school year. The holiday started Friday at 12:01 a.m. and will be in effect until midnight on Sunday.

Georgia used to partake in the holiday as well but stopped two years ago. According to WALB, a bill to bring back the tax-free weekend and prevent Georgia shoppers from crossing over into Alabama to buy supplies failed to pass this year in the General Assembly. Mississippi will hold its tax-free weekend from Friday, July 27 to Saturday, July 28. Florida and South Carolina will hold their tax-free weekend Aug. 3-5.

“You can purchase a specific list of school items,” said Public Information Manager for the Alabama Revenue Department Frank Miles. “There are school supplies, books, clothing, computers, all of those up to a certain price point, and you can get them without the 4 percent sales tax.”

There is a wide variety of things that are tax exempt this weekend. All children’s clothes under $100 will be tax free along with computer storage like flash drives, organizational tools like binders and backpacks and every writing or drawing utensil one could think of.

Stores around the state are preparing for the influx of parents and students coming in to shop, including the Valley Walmart.

“We are anticipating a lot of people because Georgia doesn’t do it and we are right on the state line,” said a manager at Valley Walmart who asked to remain unnamed. “We overstaffed all of our areas.”

The supercenter even has a special to add to the back-to-school savings.

“This year we are doing special bags,” the manager said. “You can buy a bag for $9.08 that comes with all of the basics like a composition notebook, eraser, paper, hand sanitizer and more. Customers can buy those and donate them if they would like or use them for their own children. It’s virtually everything they need to get started.”

With so many shoppers sure to hit the streets of Chambers County and those surrounding it, the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce reminded everyone to shop local and support the many area businesses that sell these supplies.

“We just want to ask that the community shops local,” said Executive Director Ashley Crane. “We have a lot of the things that you need for back to school that will be tax free whether it’s school clothes or school items. It’s a great opportunity to get school supplies and support local businesses.”