Tax-Free Shopping Week Spurs Questions About Tax Structure | Connecticut Public Radio
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Tax-Free Shopping Week Spurs Questions About Tax Structure

Aug 21, 2016

The generosity of Connecticut's exemptions has been scaled back in recent years, but the break week continues.

The state may be chronically short of cash, but some traditions still persist. Tax-free shopping week is one of them; the tax break begins Sunday. 

This is the 16th year Connecticut has offered a break on sales tax on certain items just before kids go back to school. Starting Sunday, there will be no sales tax levied on any item of clothing or shoes under $100.

It does coincide with a busy shopping period. The National Retail Federation reports families with children in school spend an average of $673 preparing for the new academic year.

Commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services, Kevin Sullivan, appealed to shoppers to take advantage of the week. “Many retailers schedule sales to coincide with sales tax-free week," said Kevin Sullivan, commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services. He said it "helps shoppers save even more money because sales tax is applied after the use of any coupons or discounts."

The generosity of Connecticut’s exemptions has been scaled back in recent years, but the break week continues; neighbor Massachusetts has taken a pass this year on its tax-free weekend, in part because of its own budget challenges. But in fact, the Bay State doesn’t levy tax on items of clothing costing under $175 at any time. Its tax break weekend in previous years removed sales tax from a much wider range of items.

The National Federation of Independent Business believes that instead of just a one-week holiday, Connecticut should be taking a hard look at its entire tax structure. "Anything that can spur people coming in to stores, and economic activity is a good thing," said state director Andrew Markowski. "But on the other hand, the mere fact that the state has to offer a tax break, leads some to think that taxes are probably too high."

Sales tax-free week runs through August 27.