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Sales tax holiday is this weekend

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The new school year is just around the corner and so is New Mexico’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday, which kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday.

Whether you’re paying the bills or know someone who is, there’s no denying back-to-school shopping is expensive. Stocking up on new clothing, computers, electronics and even basic school supplies can swiftly add up, with household spending for children in grades K-12 expected to reach nearly $28 billion nationwide this year, according to a recent Deloitte survey.

That’s why the break on the gross-receipts tax brings out the deal hunters in droves.

The 7.875 percent sales tax rate in Albuquerque consists of 5.125 percent New Mexico state sales tax and 2.75 percent Albuquerque tax.

Exempted items during tax-free weekend include shoes and clothing under $100 per item, computers under $1,000, computer hardware under $500 and school supplies under $30 per item. The clothing exemption does not include athletic gear and accessories.

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Tax-free signs line the laptops counter at the Walmart store at 2701 Carlisle, on Wednesday. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Individual retailers are also offering back-to-school deals, specials and sales in addition to the tax-free holiday. Walmart is pricing many school supplies under $1. “We are really excited to kick off back-to-school with a brand new Pickup Tower in our store,” said Store Manager Jason Sachs at the Walmart Supercenter on Carlisle Boulevard. The device is a 16-feet-tall high-tech vending machines and fulfills online orders in less than an hour, including school supplies.

So what’s on trend this year for the back-to-school crowd at Walmart? Kids are clamoring for glow in the dark glue and digital notebooks.

Customers are expected to pour into the metro area’s major shopping centers and big box stores. In anctipation of the crowds, Cottonwood Mall has added hours to its weekend schedule, staying open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday.

New Mexico is one of 14 states that offers a tax-free holiday for back to school shopping. Retailers are not required to participate in New Mexico’s tax-free holiday, so it’s wise to check in advance for participating stores.

There is no estimate of how much local governments lose from the weekend, but the cost to the state has been about $3.3 million to $3.4 million annually, according to data from the state Taxation and Revenue Department.

More specific details about New Mexico’s gross receipts tax holiday, including a list of qualifying items, go online www.tax.newmexico.gov/tax-holiday/aspx.

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