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Last tax-free weekend underway

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Every first weekend in August, Kate Newton stocks up on school supplies. 

"It's a great time to pick up all the supplies my children and my family need," says Newton.

Most school supplies and toys are tax-free during that weekend, but under the new budget plan, this is slated to be the last tax-free weekend in August. David Madison owns Stone's Education Superstore in Raleigh, where many of his customers are teachers.

"I think it means a lot to them. It means something financially, and I think it means something emotionally," says Madison.

"Doing away with the tax-free holiday doesn't allow me personally to do as much as I wanted to do," says Newton.

It's been in place since 2002, and the reasoning behind getting rid of it now is that lawmakers say with the Tax Reduction Act, people will have more money in their budgets day to day. Supporters say cutting the sales tax holiday helps fund that. The president of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) disagrees. 

"It's the only weekend of the year where your brick and mortar retailers are on a level playing field with the Internet companies," says Andy Ellen, President of NCRMA.

Ellen says it makes a substantial difference with high ticket items like electronics. If you buy a $1,000 laptop you can save almost $70. 

"It drives traffic to the mall,' says Ellen.

The NCRMA is going to Facebook, trying to mobilize legislators to take a second look. Meanwhile, some business owners are considering doing a sales tax holiday of their own next year.

"We're thinking maybe next year we'll offer something like that where we'll create the event on our own," says Madison.

The North Carolina sales tax holiday begins Friday, Aug. 2 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 4. During this time, retailers temporarily suspend sales tax on certain items like clothing up to $100, school supplies up to $300 and computers up to $3,500.

Items are not necessarily exempt from the sales tax just because they are required by a child's school or sports team. 

Discounts from retailers' coupons are deducted from the price of an item before determining if the item is eligible for the sales tax exemption.

Rebates do not affect the sales price of an item for the sales tax holiday. Please call NCDOR's Taxpayer Assistance Division at 1-877-252-3052 for answers to any questions.

NOT TAXED ITEMS: You can look at a complete list of items that qualify here.

Clothing Items
($100 or less per item)

Sport or Recreational Equipment
($50 or less per item)

Computers
($3,500 or less per item)

In addition to computers, related items such as monitors, keyboards, mouse, speakers and cables are not taxed, so long as they are sold in conjunction with a central processing unit.
Tablet computers, including but not limited to: Apple Ipad, Motorola Xoom, and Samsung Galaxy.

Certain Computer Accessories
($250 or less per item)

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Certain School Supplies
($100 or less per item for classroom and home use)

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