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No tax-free weekend this year in Georgia

Though school starts next week in Forsyth County, a regular, cost-saving part of the end-of-summer vacation will not be happening.

Unlike most years, there will not be a tax-free weekend in Georgia this year. According to officials with the Georgia Department of Revenue, a resolution must be passed by the state legislature to hold a tax-free weekend, and no bill was approved this year.

In most years, shoppers are able to purchase clothing under $100 per item, computers under $1,000 and school supplies under $20 tax-free near the beginning of the school year, though certain items are not eligible for the reduced tax rate.

The effects of the decision to not have a tax-free weekend have been felt by parents, businesses and non-profits across the county.

“It’s our busiest weekend of the whole entire year,” said Madison Cain, manager of Kid to Kid at Lakeland Plaza. “Normally that Saturday day is our busiest day of the year, and back to school is always the busiest time that we have.”

In spite of the lack of availability of tax-free items, the business is having a special sale that includes the cost of sales tax.

“Everyone was a little frustrated with there not being tax-free; they’re always used to having it,” Cain said. “So we decided to just to go ahead and give them the regular 15 percent off we always do and go ahead and pay their tax, as well.”

Tina Huck, executive director of Family Promise of Forsyth County, a nonprofit that houses and rehabilitates homeless families, said she is afraid there could be unplanned consequences.

“One of my biggest concerns, I think, is our families in particular and so many other families in the county are relying on donations of school items,” Huck said. “I think that the loss of that tax-free weekend kind of takes away some of the incentive to pick up an extra item [to donate].”

Huck said though Forsyth is among the most affluent areas in the state, the county faces issues with homeless students.

“We in Forsyth County have a pretty large problem with people who are homeless, particularly students who are homeless,” she said. “At the end of each school year, there are over 650 students and children who identified as homeless, and those are the people we’re serving.” 

There are still opportunities to shop tax-free in nearby states. Tennessee will hold its tax-free weekend this weekend, and South Carolina and Florida will hold theirs next weekend.