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Westport Shoppers, Stores Ready For Tax-Free Week

WESTPORT, Conn. –Whether you need back-to-school clothes for the kids or are looking to expand your own wardrobe, Westport shoppers may want to wait until Sunday 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 costing less than $300 each. This year, shoppers are expected to save $7.5 million during tax-free week, said Sarah Kaufman, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue Services.

Westport resident Michele Carey-Moody, who was looking at clothes for her daughter at Wishlist, said Thursday she was unaware that tax-free week was coming up. Now that she knows, Carey-Moody said she will wait to go back-to-school shopping.

“I’m glad to know it’s happening,” said Carey-Moody, a mother of two who moved this year to Westport with her family from Long Island.

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

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

After the sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear costing 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,” said Kaufman. “But, since everything is taxed now, no matter what the price, people are making a more conscious choice to wait.”

At Wishlist, manager Tracy Houle said she and her employees are well prepared for an increase in sales next week as the store historically sees a boost during tax-free week. Hoping to draw more shoppers, Houle said the store, which sells clothing for babies 0 to 20 months, children and teens, is also running a sale next week.

“I think there is definitely an incentive for people to wait, especially after the sales tax was increased," Houle said. "People want to take advantage of not paying it."

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

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