Maryland Shoppers, Merchants, Gear Up For Tax-Free Week - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Shoppers, Merchants, Gear Up For Tax-Free Week

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SALISBURY, Md. - The start of the school year is nearing, which means families are gearing up for back-to-school shopping.

In Maryland, that is expected to begin in earnest Sunday with the beginning of tax-free week.

That is seven days (Aug. 14-20) of clothes shopping in which shoppers are exempt from paying Maryland's 6 percent sales tax on items that cost $100 or less. 

Dana Nelson of West Ocean City was shopping Thursday for soccer shoes for his 7-year-old son, Jacob. He will likely be shopping again next week. "The 6 percent does help during the school season and that sort of thing. We're a commercial fishing family so any penny we can save definitely helps," he said.   

Local stores are preparing for the expected onslaught of shoppers.

"Generally the tax-free week is our biggest back-to-school shopping week, so we are getting extra staff trying to get ready and, we have lots of product, so we are ready to roll," said Joe Wright, president of VP Shoes in Salisbury, Md.

The tax-free week only happens one week a year, and not surprisingly, shoppers would like to see it more often.

"Oh my goodness, if we could space it out and do this one in the summer and maybe in the winter time so that way you wouldn't have to purchase everything for the year and it would give everyone a little break after Christmas time to go shopping again," said Stephanie Franklin, a Vice-Principal in Caroline County, Md.

Franklin says because Delaware is so close and it has no sales tax, she often crosses the border to shop. That is a constant concern for Maryland businesses.

"Where we are and with Delaware so close and tax free, it puts Maryland businesses that are close to the border at a disadvantage, so I would love to see more tax free weeks," said Wright.

The tax-free discount can be used on what are considered *necessary* clothing and shoes, such as shirts, jeans, dresses, robes, and underwear, and basic footwear like shoes, boots, and belts.

What you cannot get a discount on includes school supplies and backpacks, and almost anything that's considered an accessory such as a purse, jewelry, or scarves and headbands. The discount does not apply to any special clothing that's not used for normal wear such as football pads or cleats.

Shoppers can get answers to their questions about tax-free week at the Maryland Comptroller website, www.marylandtaxes.com

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