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Tax free shopping list has a few odd components [Editorial]

Internal Revenue Service

There's still time, if you're reading this on publication day, to take advantage of the waning hours of Shop Maryland Week, the seven days when purchases can be made without having to pay state sales tax.

It's promoted as a way for parents to save a few dollars when they're doing back to school shopping, so not everything is sold tax-free. Importantly, individual items costing more than $100 are taxed at the usual rate of 6 percent. Beyond that, figuring out which items are taxed and which are not is kind of hit and miss.

The Maryland Comptroller's Office, the state's version of the IRS, has issued a list that roughly outlines common and not so common items, and tells whether they are taxed or not taxed this week. The list can be found by going to http://www.comp.state.md.us then clicking on the "Md. Tax Free Week" item then the item "Exempt vs. Taxable Purchases."

It's worth a look, as there's a bit of levity to be found on the 2-1/2 page list. For example, fishing boots are taxed this week, but not fishing vests. Baseball gloves are taxed, but cowboy boots are tax exempt this week. Buy a pair of bowling shoes and they're tax exempt; rent a pair and pay taxes. Buy or rent a tuxedo, however, and there's no tax charge (presuming you can even rent a tux for less than $100).

There are a few other notations on the list that make it worth a look before heading out, or if you're just in the mood for a little chuckle, but either way do it before midnight Saturday or you'll have to wait until next year.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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