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August 5, 2015

2015 Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday Weekend Approaches

Memphians may have traveled into Mississippi or Arkansas this past weekend to take advantage of tax-free shopping. However, all Tennesseans will be able to enjoy the state’s sales tax holiday, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9 at 11:59 p.m. A full list of qualified items can be found on the TN Department of Revenue’s website.  Sonya Daniels, Tax Manager in the Sales and Use Tax department at CBIZ MHM Memphis, offers insight into the holiday for Memphis Business Journal’s “Expert weighs in: How to tackle Tennessee’s tax-free weekend,” and explains what exemptions exist and why some items do not qualify for exemption. 

Consumers should be aware of the limitations on exemptions before making their way to the register since it varies from state to state. For instance, computers priced at $1,500 or less are included in the Tennessee sales tax holiday but in Alabama the price limit on computers is $750 or less. Businesses will likely show an uptick in consumer spending and volume of customers during this time, making the sales tax-free weekend a hit for retailers.

On the other hand, state success varies on a case by case basis. Though consumers may cross state lines to shop in states where the exemption is offered, the sales tax holidays surround items that consumers would be purchasing regardless of the holiday, such as school supplies and clothing. The exemption has even caused some states to report a loss during this period of tax revenue; Georgia reportedly lost upwards of 40 million to host this savings to consumers.  Some states, including Illinois, continuously opt-out of the holiday from year to year.  Sonya was also featured in Chicago Tribune’s “Illinois again skips back-to-school sales tax holiday.” Though there are both pros and cons involved with opting into the event, Sonya suggests Illinois give it a try for a year to test if the benefits outweigh the associated costs: “Most states vote on these on a year to year basis so having one this year doesn’t mean they have to have it the following year.”

Contact Sonya Daniels at sdaniels@cbiz.com or 901-685-5575 for any further questions regarding sales tax.

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