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Tax takes holiday

Downtown South Boston merchants held their annual sidewalk sale this past weekend during the state’s fifth annual tax-free back-to-school shopping period Friday through Sunday.

A number of downtown merchants took advantage of the weekend to offer extra discounts to their customers on the price of merchandise, according to Tamyra Vest of Destination Downtown South Boston.

The state’s three-day sales tax holiday is intended to relieve part of the financial burden on families preparing for their children to return to school, according to Gov. Bob McDonnell, who declared this past weekend — Friday through Sunday — a tax-free back-to-school shopping period.

The list of items exempt from the five percent state and local retail sales tax was the same as previous years and included school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, calculators, dictionaries, backpacks and lunchboxes priced at $20 or less each.

The tax also was waived on clothing and footwear items such as jeans, shorts, dresses, raincoats, hats, sandals and sneakers priced at $100 or less each.
As long as each item qualified, there was no limit on the quantity the shopper could buy tax-free over the sales tax holiday weekend.

“Most families are really watching their budgets and looking for ways to save in every area.  The sales tax holiday was just another way for families to take advantage of a great way to save,” said Sen Frank Ruff.