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Mississippi retail outlets, including Southaven's Tanger Outlets, are expecting to see an influx of shoppers Friday and Saturday for the state's Tax-Free Weekend. 

The end of summer is quickly approaching, and parents hoping to save on back-to-school shopping may finally get their wish. For the first time in a decade, Mississippi's tax-free weekend quality will include school supplies.

The annual tax-free weekend will take place in Mississippi this weekend, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 26 and concluding at midnight on Saturday, July 27. Customers will not have to pay sales tax on eligible clothing, footwear and school supplies during this period. Eligible items must be priced at less than $100.00 in order to qualify for the sales tax exemption. The total price for all items bought does not affect the eligibility of an item.

According to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, clothing is described as "any article or apparel designed to be worn on the human body, including pants, shirts and blouses, dresses, coats, jackets, belts, hats, undergarments and multiple piece garments sold as a set."

Footwear is described as "any article or apparel for human feet except for skis, swim fins, roller blades, skates and any similar items."

School supplies eligible for the tax-free weekend include many common supplies that are purchased for students each year, including backpacks, binders, folders, composition books, scissors, glue, highlighters, erasers, markers, pencils, pens and paper.

The opportunity to save on school supplies is vital for many families.

"According to the National Retail Federation, parents of children in grades kindergarten through 12 will spend an average of $696.70 this back-to-school season - the highest ever recorded by the NRF," said John Byczek, public relations specialist for Academy Sports and Outdoors. "Total combined planned spending for back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers is expected to reach $80.7 billion."

The inclusion of school supplies on the list of qualified items means that Mississippi families who may have traveled to Tennessee to save can now shop locally.

"This is a good time to stock up on items for back to school, including this year's school supplies," said Vickie DuPree, CEO and executive director of the Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce. "Residents should take advantage of this and shop local retailers, including the local boutiques, to get ready for school."

Stores across the county are preparing for the influx of shoppers this weekend, and some are even offering promotions that coincide with the holiday.

Lexi Harris, general manager of Tanger Outlets in Southaven, said that they are excited for the weekend and pointed out that Polo Ralph Lauren will also be opening at the mall this Friday, in addition to Tanger's new promotion.

"We do have a promotion that is also going on called TangerStyle," said Harris. "Participating stores will offer 25 percent off a single item that can also be used with Tax-Free. Shoppers can pick these coupons up in Shopper Services or visit our website. We expect to see lots of traffic over those two days and look forward to the tax free weekend."

Items normally sold as a unit cannot be priced separately. Store coupons and discounts can be used to reduce the price of an item to qualify for the weekend, but a manufacturer's coupon cannot.

Customers may place mail, telephone and internet orders on eligible items and receive a sales tax exemptions as long as the customer orders and pays for the items during the tax-free weekend. Sales tax will not be applied to exchanges as long as the exchange occurs during the sales tax holiday or an exchange is made after the holiday for a different size or color of an item bought during the holiday.

Sales tax in Mississippi is seven percent.

To download a complete listing of eligible and non-eligible items, visit www.dor.ms.gov/Business/Documents/2019 Sales Tax Holiday.pdf.

Brent Walker is a Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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