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Memorial Day Kicks Off Tax Holiday Season, CCH Says
(RIVERWOODS, ILL., May 20, 2008) – With Memorial Day approaching, the season opens for another kind of holiday, according to CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business and a leading provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services (CCHGroup.com). The Memorial Day weekend will be marked by tax holidays focused on hurricane-preparedness items in Louisiana and Virginia, and energy-efficient appliances in Texas.
With many states already offering sales tax holidays on back-to-school items and gas tax holidays proposed both nationwide as well as in a few states, it seems that tax holidays remain popular – but economic realities may already limit their attractiveness, CCH notes.
“Florida conducted two sales tax holidays in 2007, one on hurricane-preparedness items and another on school supplies, as well as a holiday in 2006 on energy-efficient appliances, but no holidays are scheduled for this year due to budget woes,” said Carol Kokinis-Graves, JD, CCH senior state tax analyst.
“Florida Governor Crist had proposed a gas tax holiday and also made budget recommendations earlier this year that included both a hurricane preparedness and a back-to-school sales tax holiday, but none of these measures survived the legislative session,” Kokinis-Graves added.
A gas tax holiday proposal has passed the New York senate and a federal gas tax holiday has been proposed by presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton, but state gas tax holidays bring with them a significant trade-off.
“States fund their highway budgets largely through taxes on motor fuels,” Kokinis-Graves noted. “Tax relief at the pump means less money for pothole patching and road construction.”
Memorial Day Savings
While state finances may limit future expansion of tax holidays, in coming days, residents of Virginia and Louisiana can avoid sales tax on a variety of items related to hurricane preparedness, some of which – such as batteries, flashlights, tarpaulins, blue ice and portable generators – can be useful in and out of hurricane season. The holiday is May 24-25 in Louisiana, and May 25-31 in Virginia. Each state has its own list of eligible items and dollar limitations on the amounts of purchases.
In Texas, consumers can avoid paying sales tax on certain Energy Star-rated appliances and light bulbs purchased May 24-26.
“Tax holidays for energy-saving appliances and equipment have become popular in recent years,” Kokinis-Graves said.
Several states – Georgia, Maryland, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia – have enacted such holidays for the 2008 calendar year and sales tax holiday proposals are pending in other states.
Tax Holidays as Policy
In some states, holidays are not restricted to “themes” such as back-to-school, hurricane preparedness or energy efficiency. Massachusetts has conducted a sales tax holiday for a wide range of goods in August for the past several years. In addition, the Vermont legislature has approved a two-day sales tax holiday on sales to individuals of tangible personal property with a sales price of $2,000 or less for July 12 and 13 of this year, as well as a holiday on Energy Star appliances from July 12-18.
“While there are pros and cons regarding sales tax holidays, state legislators continue to enact them,” Kokinis-Graves said.
There were 16 states that enacted such holidays in 2006 and 2007, and 14 states will conduct at least one holiday in 2008.
About CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business (CCHGroup.com) is a leading provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services. It has served tax, accounting and business professionals and their clients since 1913. Among its market-leading products are The ProSystem fx® Office, CorpSystem®, CCH® Tax Research NetWork™, Accounting Research Manager® and the U.S. Master Tax Guide®. CCH is based in Riverwoods, Ill.
Wolters Kluwer is a leading global information services and publishing company. The company provides products and services globally for professionals in the health, tax, accounting, corporate, financial services, legal and regulatory sectors. Wolters Kluwer has annual revenues (2007) of €3.4 billion ($4.8 billion), maintains operations in over 33 countries across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific and employs approximately 19,544 people worldwide. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.wolterskluwer.com.
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