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School supplies to be tax-free this weekend

by Jenn Young

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- This weekend, the total on many shoppers' receipts may be lower than anticipated when they leave the checkout lane of their favorite local store.

West Virginia's second Sales Tax Holiday will begin 12:01 a.m. Friday and end at midnight Sunday. The holiday will remove the state's 6 percent sales tax from clothing, shoes and school supplies.

"There's been a positive response from consumers," said West Virginia Secretary of Tax and Revenue Brian Kastick.

At the end of the Sales Tax Holiday last year, Kastick said the retail community also was pleased with the holiday.

"Sales were 25-50 percent above what they would have been in the same weekend before the holiday," Kastick said.

Vanessa Albani, department manager at JC Penney in Meadowbrook Mall, said both floor and management teams at the store go to full crew during the tax holiday.

Albani said parents who are shopping for the upcoming school year are more likely to shop during the tax-free weekend than any other time during the summer.

"Especially if parents have multiple children," said Albani. "The costs add up."

JCPenney sales associates are briefed on how to handle tax-exempt transactions the week leading up to the holiday.

Kastick said a lot of retailers in the state have worked the holiday into their advertising this year to spread the word to more consumers.

Brian Gibson, Emily Drive Kmart merchandise manager, said Kmart has yet to advertise the holiday in its fliers, but store officials still saw a lot of shoppers come through the doors last year.

"It was very significant," Gibson said. "There was definitely a big increase in customers."

Gibson thinks people who take advantage of the holiday will buy more clothes than anything else.

Computers costing up to $750 will also be sales-tax exempt.

"There has been a pretty broad acceptance of the holiday," Kastick said.

During last year's tax-free holiday, taxpayers saved more than $1.7 million, state officials said.