Georgia shoppers, including residents of Columbus, are out of luck this summer if they were counting on the annual sales-tax holiday in the Peach State to make back-to-school purchases.
That’s because the Georgia Department of Revenue says there will be no holiday this year because the state’s General Assembly didn’t pass legislation creating one for 2017. The holiday, which subtracts state and local sales taxes over a two- or three-day weekend, likely would have taken place July 29-30 this year in Georgia, according to the website freetaxweekend.com.
The annual sales tax holiday typically gives shoppers — whether they are heading back to school or not — a break on clothing, school supplies and some electronic equipment such as personal computers, up to various limits. In Columbus, that would be a savings of 8 percent.
But there are options for those in Columbus still needing school and clothing items. Just make a short drive across the Chattahoochee River, where Alabama will be having a tax holiday starting at 12:01 a.m. CST on July 21 (Friday) and running through midnight on July 23 (Sunday).
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Phenix City will be participating, although choices are limited due to fewer retail outlets, with the Walmart Supercenter on U.S. Highway 280 having the largest overall selection of goods. The state and local sales tax in Phenix City is 9 percent.
For those in Columbus who are seeking a far better choice of retailers, the logical option is to motor over to Auburn and Opelika, Ala., where both are participating in the Alabama tax holiday. It’s a bit over a half-hour drive, with the Tiger Town development there just off Interstate 85 having a wide range of retailers to include Target, Kohl’s, Old Navy, T.J. Maxx, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kinnucan’s, Dress Barn, Ross Dress for Less and Office Depot.
There’s also Auburn Mall at 1627 Opelika Road in Auburn, with its retail presence including American Eagle Outfitters, Loft, Belk, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Stein Mart, FootLocker, Hibbett Sporting Goods and Shoe Source Encore. There’s also an Academy Sports and Outdoors store on Bent Creek Road in Auburn.
And, like Columbus, there’s a large selection of sit-down restaurants and fast-food outlets to pick from during your sales-tax holiday shopping spree in Auburn and Opelika. The state and local sales tax in both Auburn and Opelika is 9 percent.