COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As inflation continues to rise, one-third of people say they’re cutting back in other spending in order to afford the cost of items for the upcoming school year, according to the National Retail Federation.
The NRF says families will spend an average of $15 more than last year on school supplies, and $168 more than in 2019.
Luckily, Aug. 5 marks the beginning of Ohio’s sales tax holiday where shoppers won’t have to pay tax on certain items.
NBC4’s Brooke McKivergan spoke with the owner of Terrific Teaching Tools in Gahanna, Barbara Saeman, who says this is their busiest time of the year, as parents and teachers prepare for school to start. She says inflation has had an impact on the store’s prices.
“This year, unfortunately, everything has skyrocketed but we did not raise prices on everything,” she said.
The Better Business Bureau encourages shoppers to be aware of the things that qualify for tax exemptions, and Saeman says she’s doing everything she can to help customers take advantage of it.
“We’re limited on what we do, but I consider a bulletin board a constructional item because it is a teaching item,” said Saeman. “So we do give quite a bit, of course, books we can do that. But alphabets or anything that we can do tax-free because teachers do spend a lot of their own money. So we try to help them as best as we can without going over what we’re allowed to do.”
Melissa Rogner with the BBB serving Central Ohio says if a store advertises a back-to-school sale, it doesn’t always mean that those items are tax exempt.
“So, knowing the parameters of what those tax-exempt items are would be important for the consumer to be aware of,” Saeman said.
The sale does not apply to household items, or any school supplies purchased for trade or business. School instructional material includes things like reference books, reference maps and globes, textbooks and workbooks.
The BBB also wants you to be aware that there’s no limit on the amount of the total purchase, as the qualification only goes by item.
Pay attention to the seller’s time zone if you plan to take advantage of the sales online. That’s what determines the ‘authorized time period’ to qualify for the holiday.
Ohio’s sales tax holiday is from midnight Aug. 5 to 11:59 p.m. Aug. 7.