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Grand bargaining: Tax-free shopping returns this weekend

  • Yes Computers in Northampton readies for this weekend’s tax-free holiday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS



For the Gazette
Wednesday, August 08, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Nothing’s certain but death and taxes, but at least in Massachusetts, tax-free weekends are back.

For the first time since 2015, there will be a statewide tax holiday. This weekend, Aug. 11-12, purchases of items under $2,500 are not subject to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax, and already some consumers are excited and ready to take advantage of shopping deals.

Luis Gomez said he will buy school clothes for his two children and a new computer. Gomez added that he particularly appreciates the timing of the tax holiday, as it helps parents who are currently back-to-school shopping.

Stacey Kitchen said she wasn’t aware of the holiday, but now that she knows about it, she would take advantage of the shopping weekend. “My family and I have been shopping for a big-screen TV,” she said, adding that the weekend is a “good boost for the local economy.”

For Chris Unger, the manager of Yes Computers in Northampton, the tax holiday is one of the busiest times of the year. “It’s bigger than Black Friday,” he said.

Yes Computers has run its own tax-free promotion every year since the original tax holiday ended in 2015. Unger said that sales on tax-free weekend have traditionally been 20 times higher than an average day.

Some items, such as cars, boats, tobacco, electricity and gas, are not included in the tax holiday. The tax holiday does apply to all online purchases made Saturday and Sunday, regardless of when the product is delivered.

The tax holiday was reinstated as part of the so-called grand bargain that was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker at the end of July. (The legislative package included a hike in the minimum wage to $15 over the next five years as well as new paid family and medical leave programs.)

For some, however, the tax-free weekend isn’t as appealing. Emma Buchanan, who wasn’t aware of the tax holiday, said that while she thinks that it “makes sense,” she wouldn’t be buying anything big this weekend.

“I just don’t need anything,” Buchanan said.