Sales & Use Tax Blog

Georgia Sales Tax Holiday Weekend May No Longer Exist

The biggest Georgia sales tax holiday that shoppers have seen in recent years may finally be coming to a halt following a 3-year hiatus.

The rush to shopping in stores became known to many Georgia residents as a “tax free weekend” which is a two-part holiday; the first segment typically held in the first weekend of August. As the name implies, this unofficial holiday primarily provides an exemption from Georgia sales tax on eligible purchases. Since it targets back-to-school shoppers, exempt items mainly consisted of school related products ranging from computer accessories to graduation caps and gowns.

During the month of October, shoppers would have another opportunity to take part in this holiday, this time applying tax exemptions for mostly energy and water efficient products.

Advocacy groups with ideologies from both sides of the political spectrum contend that this weekend is not conducive for the state, nor its shoppers. Neither see it as a boost to the growth of the state’s economy and say that it provides unrecognizable financial relief for consumers.

As a long-time Georgia resident who grew up here, the tax-free weekend was a norm amongst most. As the Tax Foundation mentioned in their 2016 report, this holiday never attracted new shoppers, it just incentivized buyers to purchase on these set weekends out of many others. Along with that, shoppers never saw significant savings in these tax exemptions. Furthermore, the Tax Foundation also suggested that many retailers would increase purchase prices to offset the loss on sales tax, thus resulting in a minimized saving for consumers.

With the state rate for Georgia sales tax currently set at 4%, these savings may seem small, but according to AJC, the holiday costs Georgia and local municipalities $70 million in lost revenue. With the last tax-free weekend occurring back in 2016, could this signal the end of a short-lived Georgia sales tax break for consumers?

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