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Mississippi kicks off the summer 2014 sales tax holiday season

Mississippi gets a lot of grief for being at the bottom of some national lists. But when it comes to the annual spate of sales tax holidays, the Magnolia State takes the lead.

Mississippi_2014_Sales-Tax-Holiday-logoMississippi's annual sales tax holiday is this Friday, July 25, and Saturday, July 26.

It might be first, but it has lots of company. Sixteen states, or possibly 17 if Massachusetts lawmakers make a move before they recess next week, will offer shoppers sales tax savings on selected items this summer.

These events are decried by tax policy analysts as terrible ways to run a state's revenue system. But voters shoppers love them. So a handful of states persist in offering the events each year.

This week's Weekly Tax Tip over at Bankrate has a roundup of the summer's upcoming state sales tax holidays.

Tax holiday preview: I'll remind you here on the ol' blog of the tax-free events as the dates for each state's event gets nearer.

Here's a hint of what's -- or more accurately, where's -- coming up early in August: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.

Later in the month, it's go time for shoppers in Connecticut, Maryland, Texas and maybe Massachusetts.

But today's focus is on the first summer sales tax holiday of 2014 in Mississippi. Here's the scoop.

Mississippi when: Let the search for tax-free items begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 25.

No taxes will be collected on certain items through Saturday, July 26, with the holiday ending at midnight that day.

Mississippi what: Mississippi shoppers won't have to pay the state's usual 7 percent sales tax on clothing and footwear that costs less than $100 per item.

The state has put together a guidelines document that has specific examples of tax-free items. It also covers a variety of shopping situations, such as the bundling of items, discounts and rebates, rain checks, online and other remote purchases, shipping and handling charges and layaways.

Basically, though, there won't be any state sales tax collected this Friday and Saturday on clothing and footwear.

Just to be sure you know what to look for, Mississippi tax officials point out that clothing for tax holiday purposes is any article of apparel designed to be worn by people. I'd make a joke, but then I must note that many folks buy sweaters, shoes and other items of apparel for their pets.

As for footwear, this means your basic shoes and boots. It does not mean skis, swim fins, roller blades, skates or other similar items you can wiggle your toes into.

And accessorizing Mississippi shoppers won't get any tax savings. Items such as jewelry (including watches) and handbags are still taxed. So are umbrellas, luggage, wallets, backpacks and briefcases.

Mississippi where: Although the next two days are billed as Mississippi's sales tax holiday, cities get to decide whether to participate.

For 2014, as in previous years, the cities of Crenshaw, Enterprise and Heidelberg have opted out. That means that retailers in within those city limits will charge sales tax on all articles of clothing and footwear purchased on Friday and Saturday.

So now all you Mississippi shoppers have to do it get your lists in order. Have fun!

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