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Mississippi sales tax holiday begins today

July is almost over. You know what that means. School's just around the corner.

And with it comes the annual spate of back-to-school sales tax holidays.

Mississippi state sales tax holiday logo 2012Mississippi kicks off these summer tax-free events today. The Magnolia State's sales tax holiday began at 12:01 a.m. today, Friday, July 27, and runs until midnight Saturday, July 28.

As in previous years, Mississippi shoppers won't owe the state's usual 7 percent sales tax on clothing and footwear that costs less than $100 per item.

Double check eligibility: Mississippi's Department of Revenue has issued an official list of which items are and are not exempt from sales tax Friday and Saturday.

The state's tax officials also remind shoppers (and sellers) of some special circumstances that could affect an item's sales tax-free status.

If you had something on layaway, for example, and made the final payment over the next two days, even if it's an otherwise eligible item, this type of purchase does not qualify for the sales tax exemption.

But eligible tax holiday items that you buy via mail, telephone or online are sales tax-free if you order and pay for the clothing or footwear today or Saturday. Even better, shipping and handling charges won't push your items over the $100 threshold. Those delivery add-ons aren't included as part of the qualifying tax-free sales price.

Rental clothing also is still subject to sales tax. So the price you pay for that tuxedo you'll wear as part of your brother's wedding party still will include tax.

And as vital as you might consider accessories to your outfit, these accouterments don't count when it comes to tax relief. On Friday and Saturday you'll still pay sales tax on jewelry, handbags and even that boutonniere you'll pin to your sales-taxable tux.

Some cities opt out: Finally, Mississippi cities got to decide whether to participate in this year's sales tax holiday.

The cities of Crenshaw, Enterprise and Heidelberg have opted out of the 2012 tax holiday.

Retailers in those jurisdictions will charge sales tax on all articles of clothing and footwear purchased on Friday and Saturday.

More sales tax holidays on the way: Sixteen other states will hold sales tax holidays in August. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Massachusetts lawmakers also are working on approving a sales tax holiday for Bay State shoppers one weekend next month.

I'll get you the specifics on these upcoming sales tax holidays, most of which are the first weekend in August, next week here at the ol' blog.

But if you want a preview, you can check out my story on Bankrate.

Now get those shopping lists ready!

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