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North Carolina Businesses v South Carolina Sales Tax Holiday


 A time without sales tax. It ain't all that.

Along with more than ten other states, South Carolina is offering a sales tax holiday this weekend. It’s neighbor, North Carolina, is not (having abandoned sales tax holidays in 2014). Businesses in North Carolina are therefore finding creative ways to keep North Carolinians from heading south to shop this weekend.

Retailers in NC reported slower than average sales during South Carolina’s 2014 sales tax holiday. As a result, this year many are offering “better than tax free” sales. Numerous retailers in Concord Mills, an outlet mall located approximately 45 miles north of the border, are having 15% off sales. And Education Express, a school supplies retailer, is offering a 10% discount at all North Carolina locations this weekend. Last year, sales in North Carolina stores dropped during the South Carolina holiday (Charlotte Observer).

Do sales tax holidays actually help small businesses? According to the Tax Foundation, they do not. Evidence suggests that consumers don’t actually spend more during tax-free periods, they just shift the dates of their spending. Furthermore, it takes time and money for businesses to reprogram point of sale systems and train employees. Still, they're popular among consumers and a favorite of many politicians; in many states, they seem here to stay.

It can’t be easy for retailers in states without tax-free periods to sit by and watch local consumers travel to competitors in another state. So this weekend, many in North Carolina will do what it takes to draw customers through their doors.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.