Shoppers welcome the tax free weekend starting today

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Tax free weekend begins, offering a much needed relief for bargain shoppers for back to school items.

It's summer's last gasp of breath, at least for many area school children. The tax free weekend signals the inevitable return back to the books.

But first, many need to purchase those books.

Starting Friday, and running through midnight on Sunday, the government is looking the other way on charging their usual share on back to school supplies.

Everything from clothes to shoes, even on big ticket items like computers will be free of Federal and State taxes...but only for the next couple of days.

"With three boys I'll probably spend about $700 on back to school supplies but going when it's tax free saves me quite a bit of money," said Michele Magana when we caught up with her at Northlake Mall.

She said she will spend the same amount this year as last but some of the pressure to come up with that cash is off.

"We feel a little more confident in the economy.  I have a job, my husband has a job.  The economy isn't where it should be but I do feel good that it's getting there," she added.

The money she saves, she'll spend on the new car the family just purchased.  They are also saving for a home.

Not everything on your list may qualify for the tax break, so you should be very careful what's in your cart before heading up to the cash register.

Clothing and shoes are on the list, as long as each item is under $100. School instructional materials are okay too, if they have less than a $50 price tag.

Computers under $3,500 will be tax free as well. Accessories for your new IMac or PC are fine, as long as you keep it below $250.

Here's the breakdown: in North Carolina, if you buy that $1000 computer, you'll pocket $70 that normally you'd be giving to Uncle Sam. Unlike Mecklenburg County, which has a 7.5% tax rate, it's cheaper in South Carolina which has a 6% rate. Obviously, the amount of money you'll save may be a little less at $60.

All businesses and shop owners are required to participate on items that fall into the tax free category. Most welcome it, because it always brings a boost to the stores bottom line.

For a complete list of items considered tax-free, click here.

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