WASHINGTON -- Pay less and save more this week in Maryland starting on Sunday. It's the beginning of the state's sales tax-free week and it's the second busiest shopping period of the year.
Consumers will get to keep more green in their wallets if they buy clothing or shoe items priced less than $100. Diapers, hats, belts, jerseys and swim suits are also exempt from the six percent sales tax. Sales tax is not applied to any of those items purchased online either, as long as they're paid for and delivered this week.
"We're a high-tax state. Our consumers deserve a break and taxpayers really appreciate any kind of deal they can get," says Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. "Even though I'm the tax collector, I'm a big fan of this because it generates a tremendous amount of economic activity."
But not everything you can wear qualifies for the savings. Accessories and protective sports gear are not exempt. And unlike Virginia, school supplies are also not included.
Franchot has tried to expand the list of eligible items through the Maryland Legislature in the past.
"In my view, the more the better. Shopping is emotional for a lot of folks and they need a little bit of a stimulus even if it doesn't seem like a lot of money… It's proven to be a winner for everybody, including the tax coffers. It makes economic sense," he says.
However, merchants offer other deals to entice consumers to buy non-tax-exempt items.
"Retailers see a double-digit increase in their retail sales this week," Franchot says.
The state estimates that consumers pocket about $5 million to $6 million of potential sales tax revenue during the tax-free holiday but Franchot says the money lost is more than made up for through other purchases.
Consumers aren't required to be Maryland residents to reap the benefits of the tax-free week, which runs until Saturday, Aug. 16.
"Boy, do I feel good about seeing our sister states on our borders, who normally are benefitting from Maryland consumers going to their states to buy, come to our state. It warms my heart," Franchot says.
Virginia's back-to-school tax free holiday was held last weekend.
D.C. does not offer a sales tax exemption period.
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