tax free 2015

Sandy Kyne, left of Nostalgic ‘n’ More on Pleasant Street in Attleboro rings up a sale for Steven Archambault of Taunton on the tax-free shopping holiday in 2015.

Just in time for back-to-school shopping, Attleboro area consumers can take advantage this weekend of the latest sales tax holiday in Massachusetts.

Most purchases made Saturday or Sunday will be exempt from the state’s sales tax of 6.25 percent, including those made online.

Purchases that cost $2,500 or more are not eligible.

Also not eligible, even if they cost less than $2,500, are motor vehicles, motorboats, telecommunications services, gas, steam, electricity, tobacco products, marijuana or marijuana products, and alcoholic beverages.

The National Federation of Independent Business, a leading small business association with more than 5,000 members in the state, is encouraging consumers to shop at locally-owned small businesses during the sales tax holiday.

“With families focused on back to school shopping, holding the sales tax holiday in the traditionally slower retail month of August is perfect for small businesses,” NFIB State Director in Massachusetts Christopher Carlozzi said. “By shopping at businesses on Main Street, consumers are supporting their local communities and bolstering local entrepreneurs while saving tax dollars and taking advantage of additional promotions.”

Carlozzi points out many small businesses support local sports teams, scholarships and other community causes.

Patriot Place in Foxboro is celebrating Tax Free Weekend with special contests, sales and deals throughout the shopping, dining, and entertainment complex.

Bed, Bath & Beyond is hosting an “Enter to Win $500 Bed, Bath & Beyond Shopping Spree,” with extended hours. The deadline to enter the shopping spree is today.

Bass Pro Shops is hosting its Fall Hunting Classic in conjunction with Tax Free Weekend, and it continues until Aug. 25, with in-store promotions and sales. During Tax Free Weekend, Bass Pro Shops also offers several seminars, including on archery and hunting.

State legislators this year set the date, but didn’t have to vote on the special weekend because last year the Legislature instituted a permanent annual sales tax holiday. It has been held for several years.

Supporters of the holiday say the event, besides saving consumers millions, is a significant boost to the stores and economy during a traditional slow summer time for many businesses.

Backers counter that any state sales tax revenue lost is offset by meals and gas tax revenue generated by shoppers over the two days. Estimated sales tax revenue lost is about $30 million.

Those who oppose the special weekend maintain the state can’t stand to lose the revenue, consumers would be making many of the purchases regardless of the tax break, and other tax relief should be considered.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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