When it comes to back-to-school shopping, some of us get nostalgic about the smell of a fresh pack of pencils, the possibilities contained in a new calendar and the perfect pair of shoes to go with our first-day-back outfit. Maybe we’ll even get a new laptop this year or plan to pick up sheets or a comforter to fit our new bed in the dorm room.
If you’re shopping next weekend, you’re in luck.
All of those things are on South Carolina’s tax-exempt list so you’ll save roughly 6 to 8 percent or so on your purchases, depending on the county where you are shopping.
But there are some surprising things on the list – and not on the list – too. Here’s a sampling:
In case you need to get your newborn ready for back to school: Baby clothes and shoes, bibs, bonnets, diapers and crib accoutrements are tax free.
In case you need a husband or wife to take back to school: Wedding dresses, bridal veils and tuxedos – as long as they are not rented – also are tax free.
In case you come from a different era and are traveling back to the future for school: Aerobics clothing, including leg warmers and leotards, furs, jogging suits, corsets and corset laces, pantsuits and shoulder pads are on the tax-free list, suggesting it the list needs an update. (We’re looking at you, S.C. Legislature.)
Things you probably can’t buy anymore: PDAs are on the list – that’s a personal digital assistant, in case you forgot – also are tax free. The list, which tells consumers what they are, offers up this definition: “hand-held computers used as daily planners.” It also reminds shoppers the exemption does not apply to cell phones with a PDA. Anyone want to volunteer to walk into Best Buy or the Verizon store and ask to see their line of PDAs? (Also, did we mention updating the list?)
Only your bed will be stylin’: You can get your tax-free mattress toppers, dust ruffles and duvet covers, but you won’t save on drapes, curtains or tablecloths. Also, you can get a tax-free shower curtain or liner, but you won’t save on a rod or hooks for hanging it.
You can buy the jersey, but no new bats or balls: Athletic uniforms are covered; athletic equipment is not. Also, you can get a tax-free discount on your bicycle gloves but not your bicycle.
We want to go to this school: Bathing suits, beach towels, fishing boots, bowling shoes, ice skates, ski boots and masks all are on the tax-free list.
Ummmmm: Finally, wigs, costumes, lingerie and garter belts are tax free.
Also: Make sure you are using all of these things for school. The items are not exempt if they are used in a “trade or business.” You have to promise the cashier. (Just kidding.)