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What happened to North Carolina's tax-free weekend?

South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia all offer tax-free weekends of their own, but North Carolina's tax-free weekend ended years ago.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the rate of inflation hits record highs, families are looking for ways to save on back-to-school shopping.

Several states offer tax-free weekends over the summer to encourage spending and help families out during their summer shopping haul.

It typically offers discounts on everything from clothes to pencils and computers.

South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia all offer tax-free weekends of their own, but in North Carolina, the sales-tax-free weekend ended years ago.

Let's step back in time to 2013. That was the last time our state had a sales-tax-free weekend. Republican state lawmakers got rid of it along with other tax breaks to simplify tax rules.

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Democratic Rep. Pricey Harrison said North Carolina is surrounded by states that offer discounts for consumers.

"One problem is people who live in border counties end up going across the border to the tax breaks in Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina, which is not helping our retailers," Harrison said.

Rep. Jon Hardister, a Republican, said he's not bothered by people spending money in other states. He said people coming here when North Carolina had its tax-free weekend was a reason to get rid of it. 

"It's not just North Carolinians paying that sales tax, it's people from out of state that are paying that," Hardister said. "When we had a tax-free weekend, that's when a lot of tourists would plan to come here and spend a lot of money and we wouldn't get any of that revenue."

Democrats in the General Assembly have tried to bring the tax-free weekend back over the years. Sen. Michael Garrett sponsored SB 851 in this year's session amid rising inflation and with a state budget surplus.

"I think it's something we had within our ability to pass this session," Garrett said. "We had the ability to afford it, we have that $6 billion surplus. I'm always a fan of returning some of those dollars back to taxpayers."

Hardister said a tax holiday would be a temporary solution and Republicans believe the tax changes they've made are working.

"We more than made up for it by drastically increasing the child tax credit, including an additional $500 tax credit that was enacted last year," Hardister said. "If you have kids in school, that's a major benefit for your family."

If you are looking for tax-free weekends in North Carolina's border states. Here is when you can take advantage.

South Carolina

South Carolina is offering its tax-free weekend from Friday, Aug. 5 through Sunday, Aug. 7.

Tennessee

Tennessee's traditional sales tax holiday on clothing, school supplies and computers begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 29 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 31.

Virginia

Virginia allows you to stock up on school supplies, clothing, hurricane and emergency preparedness supplies, and certain Energy Star and WaterSense products during its tax-free weekend. 

It starts on Friday, Aug. 5 at 12:01 a.m. and ends Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

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