NORWALK, Conn. – Whether you need back-to-school clothes for the kids or are looking to expand your own wardrobe, Norwalk shoppers may want to wait until Sunday, when the state’s annual sales tax holiday begins.
For one week, shoppers across Connecticut will get a break from the 6.35 percent sales tax on most clothing and footwear costing less than $300 each. This year, shoppers are expected to save $7.5 million during tax-free week, said Sarah Kaufman, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue Services.
After the sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear costing less than $50 was eliminated last July, Kaufman said more people took advantage of tax-free week last year than in previous years. The same is expected this year.
“I think it’s magnificent,” said Sammy El Mished, owner of And Company on Washington Street in Norwalk. The store always does better than usual during the tax-free week. “It really encourages people to shop. Even if they’re only saving 6.35 percent, a penny saved is a penny earned.”
The store also has discounts of 10 percent to 50 percent off items to further encourage shopping, El Mished said. He appreciates the encouragement for people to shop locally.
“The economy is very weak,” he said. “Small businesses are a very important part of the economy, and we need to do whatever we can to stimulate that, especially in this climate.”
During the sales tax holiday, which runs Aug. 19 to 25, sales tax is not applied to everyday clothing and shoes costing less than $300 each. Special items such as athletic clothing and footwear do not qualify for the exemption. Jewelry, belts, handbags and other accessories don’t qualify, either.
If an item is priced more than $300, but the shopper has a coupon that brings the amount under $300, the item won’t be taxed. The exemption also applies to items purchased online, over the phone and by mail as well as to items placed on layaway that week.
“Helping people save during the back-to-school shopping season was one of the thoughts behind the program,” said Kaufman. “It’s supposed to be an incentive to get people into the stores and get more money moving again.”
More information about tax-free week is available online on the Department of Revenue Service's website.