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Mississippi Retailers Brace For The Sales Tax Holiday

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 26 Jul 2012 04:52pm | comments
Shoe store manager Justin King.

Mississippi retailers are bracing for what they say is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports shoppers are not required to pay sales tax on certain items until tomorrow night.

For the fourth year in a row, the state legislature has approved a tax-free weekend that lets shoppers in Mississippi skip paying the seven-percent sales tax on certain clothing and shoes.

The tax holiday exists partly to help parents preparing to send their kids back to school.

Justin King manages a shoe store in a Ridgeland mall.

King says the tax-free holiday is second only to the notorious after thanksgiving shopping day known as Black Friday.

"Because of that, and we had such a big increase last year, I have to continue with what is going on. We have three times the normal amount of employees. We have increased our inventory roughly 7-fold in the last month," King said.

The tax break includes certain shoes and clothing that costs under 100-dollars.

The tax break does not include most school-related items....something the Mississippi Retail Federation is pushing for.

Chris and Cindy Garton say they used to travel to other states to take advantage of sales tax breaks to do school shopping.

"Usually we have been going over to Alabama and using theirs but last year we used it here." Chris said.

"That was before Mississippi started doing it. We would go to Alabama and use theirs but now we stay in state," Cindy said.

There are no firm numbers on how much revenue the tax holiday costs the state or brings in for retailers.

Kathy Waterbury with the Mississippi Department of Revenue says its difficult to accurately track the impact of the tax holiday on state revenues.

"Tax payers are not required to report to use their exempt sales. So we don't have that information. And we have not been able to use comparisons with previous years because of the economy. We have just finished our fiscal year '12 and we are not back up to our sales tax collection levels that we were in 2008," Waterbury said.

Waterbury says anecdotal evidence....such as retailers calling about the holiday and planning sales months in advance.....indicate that the holiday is popular with consumers and a boon to business.

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Shoe store manager Justin King.


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