Back to school

A Vinemont Middle School student puts school supplies in his locker in this 2016 Times photo. Back to school supplies will be tax-free July 19-21.

August is just around the corner, and that means children will soon be returning to school. For families looking to save a few dollars while stocking up on school supplies, the state’s tax-free weekend will be taking place this weekend. 

From 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, until midnight on Sunday, July 18, the state will be waiving its 4 percent sales tax on school-related supplies and clothing, and Cullman and Cullman County will also be waiving their local sales taxes on the same merchandise. 

Exempt items include clothing priced at $100 or less per article; school supplies valued at $50 or less per item; books that cost $30 or less per book and tablets, laptops, computers and printers with a selling price of $750 or less.

Although the sales tax holiday targets back-to-school shoppers, any consumer can benefit from the savings offered during the weekend. Some of the widely-needed items that will be tax-exempt include diapers, printer ink, thumb or flash drives, printer paper and art supplies.

The full list of tax-exempt items can be found at cullmantimes.com.

The sales tax holiday provides shoppers a way to save money and support their local economies, especially those local businesses that sell the covered items exclusively, like shoe, children’s apparel, school supply, book and computer stores.

“This year’s sales tax holiday will provide momentum for Alabama’s continued economic recovery,” Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said in a press release. “Saving money for consumers while stimulating sales for stores is what this weekend is all about.”

As always, the Alabama Retail Association encourages shoppers to buy from local retailers by promoting the use of the #ShopAlabama hashtag.

“Shopping with businesses that have a physical presence in your local area keeps businesses open and your neighbors employed,” Brown said. 

The tax free weekend also coincides with the United Way of Cullman County’s annual Stuff the Bus campaign, which will be running July 16-23. The United Way partners with the Cullman County and Cullman City school to collect school supplies for families in the community who don’t have the means to buy their own supplies for their children who are going to school. 

In addition to the main drop off location in the bus that will be parked next to the Cullman County Courthouse, 12 businesses have partnered with United Way of Cullman County to collect school supplies at their business locations.

Supplies can be dropped off at the UPS Store, River Valley Ingredients, Cullman Daily, First Community Bank, Comfort Care – Hospice, Chick-Fil-A, Cullman Chamber of Commerce, Cullman Power Board, Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, The Cullman Times, Berkley Bob’s, and Gateway Mortgage.

Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238.

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