FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Whether you need back-to-school clothes for the kids or are looking to expand your own wardrobe, Fairfield shoppers may want to wait until Aug. 19 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 under $300 each. This year, shoppers are expected to save $7.5 million during tax-free week, said Sarah Kaufman, a spokesperson for the state Department of Revenue Services.
Fairfield business owners are eager for the tax holiday to start as well.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said Sandie DiNicola, owner of the Shoe Emporium on Post Road. “A lot of people here take advantage of it. It drums up some business, especially for back-to-school.”
After the sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear under $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.
“People buying less expensive clothing didn’t feel they had to wait to do their shopping, since most of what they were buying was under $50 each,” she said. “But, since everything is taxed now, no matter what the price, people are making a more conscious choice to wait.”
During the sales tax holiday, which runs Aug. 19 through the 25, sales tax is not applied to everyday clothing and shoes that are under $300 each. Special items such as athletic clothing and footwear do not qualify for the exemption. Jewelry, belts, handbags and other accessories also don’t qualify.
If an item is priced over $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, by mail and 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.”
The Shoe Emporium doesn’t carry children’s shoes, so she doesn’t expect many back-to-school shoppers next week. But tax-free week brings in extra customers to her small shop in the Fairfield Shopping Center regardless. After what she called a slow summer for sales, the influx will be welcome.
“I think people are shopping more for bargains and sale prices, and hopefully tax-free week will work to be the same thing,” DiNicola said.
More information about tax-free week is available online on the Department of Revenue Service's website.