Retailers — and shoppers — ready for tax-free weekend

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PITTSFIELD — Some people use the state's annual tax-free weekend to buy back to school supplies. Some use it to buy appliances. Some to buy jewelry. And some?

They buy snow-throwers.

"It's a big day for us," said Jim Reynolds of H.D. Reynolds of Cheshire, purveyor of fine machinery, including snow throwers.

"Snow throwers are usually the most popular item we sell this weekend," said Reynolds. "People tend to buy snow-throwers in August anyway. They think ahead. So we see a lot of people coming in to buy them around now anyway. But this weekend, we expect to do well."

The tax-free weekend is upon us.

Every year since 2004, with the exception being the recession year of 2009, the state has approved a two-day holiday for shoppers at the end of the summer, suspending the now 6.25 percent state tax.

Last year, the holiday resulted in $24.6 million in foregone tax revenues across the state, according to the state Department of Revenue.

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The DOR sets some limits on the weekend, including a ceiling of $2,500 on single purchases. Individual purchases that exceed the ceiling are assessed the full tax, according to the DOR website. In other words, if an item costs $3,000, the buyer pays tax on the entire price.

Some savvy consumers have a strategy for the weekend, according to Mark Charland, owner of Charland Jewelry on Merrill Road.

"We see people coming in and putting items aside for purchase on the weekend," said Charland.

"I think it's great for the consumer," said Charland. "We do a certain amount of business on the weekend anyway, but this weekend, we'll see an increase."

"It's mind-boggling," said Tom Rich, owner of Paul Rich and Sons of North Street. "We're one of the few businesses around here that sell a lot of high ticket items, but they're not really over the limit. This weekend really fits us.

"I'm not 100 percent sure, but I'd say about 50 percent of what we're selling this weekend is already marked for sale," he continued. "Our customers have come in and picked out their items and they're just waiting for the weekend to make the purchase."

Call Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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