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Shop Tax Free and Local in Ridgefield Stores

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. –Whether you need back-to-school clothes for the kids or are looking to expand your own wardrobe, Ridgefield shoppers may want to wait until Aug. 19, when the state’s annual sales tax holiday begins.

For one week, shoppers across Connecticut will get a break from the 6.35 percent sales tax on most clothing and footwear less than $300 each. This year, shoppers are expected to save $7.5 million during tax-free week, said Sarah Kaufman, a spokesperson for the state Department of Revenue Services.

After the sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear less than $50 was eliminated last July, Kaufman said more people took advantage of tax-free week last year than in previous years. The same is expected this year.

“People buying less expensive clothing didn’t feel they had to wait to do their shopping, since most of what they were buying was under $50 each,” she said. “But, since everything is taxed now, no matter what the price, people are making a more conscious choice to wait.”

In Maura Sullivan’s experience from previous years as owner of the Children’s Cottage, tax-free week has brought more people in to the store.

“It really gives people an opportunity to do most of their back-to-school shopping,” Sullivan said. And with money being tighter, she thinks people have become more money savvy, and tax-free week gives them more of a chance to do that.

During the sales tax holiday, which is from Aug. 19-25, sales tax is not applied to everyday clothing and shoes that are less than $300 each. Special items, like athletic clothing and footwear, do not qualify for the exemption. Jewelry, belts, handbags and other accessories also don’t qualify.

If an item is priced more than $300, but the shopper has a coupon that brings the amount to less than $300, the item won’t be taxed. The exemption also applies to items purchased online, by phone, by mail and to items placed on layaway that week.

“Helping people save during the back-to-school shopping season was one of the thoughts behind the program,” Kaufman said. “It’s supposed to be an incentive to get people into the stores and get more money moving again.”

For Cindy Swiman, director of stores at Lyn Evans, the tax-free incentive does provide a significant increase in their sales.

“It’s a great offering that brings people into and shop at local stores,” Swiman said.

More information about tax-free week is available online on the Department of Revenue Service's website.

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