Md. promoting tax-free shopping week

July 30, 2010|By HEATHER LOWERY

People shopping in Maryland can enjoy a tax-free shopping week on clothes and footwear from Aug. 8 to 14.

Joe Shapiro, director of communications for the Maryland comptroller's office, said items have to cost $100 or less to be exempt from the state's sales tax.

Maryland's sales tax is 6 percent on all taxable goods, and Shapiro said Maryland will feel the lack of sales tax.

"We won't be collecting on those items, and there will be a slight hit to the state because of the fact that we are not collecting the sales tax," he said.


Shapiro said there is a good reason why tax-free shopping week is scheduled for August.

"I think just because it is toward the end of summer and people are getting ready to go back to school," Shapiro said. "Parents are getting the kids ready, college students are going back to school and adults are changing seasons."

Shapiro said he hopes tax-free shopping week will help Maryland families and retailers.

"Given this economy of the state and of the nation, Maryland families have been suffering, and they deserve a week," he said. "It's also to help the Maryland retailers. It could give them an end-of-summer boost."

Maryland is not new to tax-free week, but it's been several years since the last one was held.

"The last one we had in Maryland was in 2006, and it was because of the declining economy in Maryland that it stopped," Shapiro said.

Maryland plans to maintain the tax-free week annually as long as the General Assembly allows it, Shapiro said.

"The state can absorb this hit to give back to the consumers and help the retailers out," Shapiro said.

Many retailers have been taking time to prepare for tax-free shopping week, including Valley Mall and Prime Outlets.

"We have a whole back-to-school promotion that is going to start this weekend," said Michele Wills, Valley Mall's director of marketing.

Angie Riford, marketing manager for Prime Outlets at Hagerstown, said tax-free shopping week is a great incentive for consumers to shop.

"I think that consumers want to stretch their dollars further in a down economy, and the outlets are great for that all year round and especially with a tax-free week," Riford said.

Riford said Prime Outlets stores are working on the typical back-to-school promotions, but they are receiving a lot of positive feedback from callers about tax-free week.

As the week draws near, Wills said the mall is promoting store sales with posters, floor graphics, memos and e-mails.

Wills said she feels it is a good move for the state to have tax-free week.

"It's a really good thing for this year," Wills said. "We are usually busy for back-to-school shopping, but we are hoping it brings in tons of people."

Riford said she hopes tax-free shopping week will bring in consumers from outside the county.

For more information on Valley Mall, go to For more information on Prime Outlets, go to

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