July 20, 2000 -- Because the federal income
tax is the biggest and usually the first tax we see listed
on our pay stubs, we naturally tend to focus on it.
But state government takes a bite out
of our spending money, too. Bankrate will help you stay on
top of what your localities are collecting -- income, sales,
personal property or investment taxes, or often a combination
Here's a look at some recent tax actions
across the nation.
high-tech shoppers get tax break
HARRISBURG -- High-tech consumers in the Keystone State
will be out in force Aug. 6 to 13. That's when Pennsylvania
holds the nation's first "Tax-Free PC" week. No
sales tax -- state or local -- will be collected on personal
computers and selected components bought then. The tax break
applies to personal computers bought for home use from any
Pennsylvania retail outlet, either in person, through the
mail or over the Internet.
The tax rebate is effective even if the
computer is delivered after the tax holiday ends. The Pennsylvania
break also applies to software, printers and other equipment
purchased at the same time as the PC, and shipping and handling
fees are tax free, too. More information on tax-free computer
purchases can be found at Pennsylvania's Web
site. A second sales tax break for computer purchases
will be Feb. 18-25, 2001.
expands back-to-school sales tax holiday
AUSTIN -- Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander has
amended the state's upcoming sales tax holiday for school
clothes to allow the exemption to also apply to clothing and
shoes that are put on layaway.
Items of clothing bought Aug. 4-6 and
costing less than $100 are exempt from Texas' 6.25 percent
sales tax. The first weekend in August was chosen to coincide
with the beginning of the school year, but the tax break is
not limited to children's school clothes. Most clothing and
footwear priced under $100 per item is exempt from sales tax,
as are athletic clothes commonly used as street wear, like
tennis shoes, baseball caps and jogging suits.
Not included in the sales tax holiday
are accessories, such as jewelry and watches, and items that
are carried rather than worn, including handbags, briefcases,
wallets and backpacks.
Rylander said she hopes the layaway option,
also capped at $100, will enable consumers with limited cash
to take more advantage of the tax holiday.
In announcing the expanded sales tax break,
Rylander added that she also will ask Texas lawmakers next
year to include backpacks and fabric, buttons and zippers
among the items qualifying for the exemption. Texas' first
three-day sales tax holiday was last year, and state officials
said shoppers saved more than $32 million in sales taxes on
purchases of $400 million.
shoppers get two sales tax-free weekends
TALLAHASSEE -- Sunshine State consumers get two sales tax-free
weekends this summer: July 29 through Aug. 6.
During that period, anyone may purchase
tax exempt clothing and footwear as long as the each item
costs no more than $100. The tax holiday regulations define
clothing as any article of apparel, including all footwear
(except skis, swim fins, or in-line and other skates) intended
to be worn. Accessories such as wallets, handbags, backpacks,
fanny packs and diaper bags also are tax exempt. But briefcases,
suitcases and other garment bags will still be taxed, as will
watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs or
In addition, the state will continue to
collect taxes on items, even those which otherwise would be
tax-free, that are sold within a theme park, hotel or airport.
There are no restrictions on the number
of sales tax free items that may be purchased. A full list
of tax-exempt items is available at the Florida Department
of Revenue Web