Maryland kicks off tax-free week

Shoppers laden with bags of summer sale items and school clothes for children trundled out of the Gallery at Harborplace Sunday after taking advantage of first day of the state's tax-free week.

Until Sunday, Aug. 15, Maryland's 6 percent sales tax will not be imposed on articles or clothing or shoes that cost less than $100, even if the total bill exceeds that figure.

Many shoppers are luring shoppers with additional discounts during the week, which is intended to boost sales during a time of year when business is often lagging.

"A lot of people have said they came in because of it," said Kasia Champion, a sales associate at the Banana Republic store in the Gallery. Sales were brisk for a Sunday in August, she said.

The store offered a 25 percent discount on all regularly-priced merchandise as part of an event signs promoted as "Shop Your Tax Off" week.

Jean Goods, a receptionist from Bolton Hill, bustled through the mall with bags from Talbot's and Nine West shoes. Employees from the Towson Talbot's store had call her to tout tax-free week sales, she said.

Goods said she had bought a pair of shoes, slacks and had ordered two jackets to be shipped from another location. She said she planned to visit several other stores throughout the week.

The tax-free week was established by a 2007 law that went into effect this year. The sales tax will not be collected during the second week in August each subsequent year.

The comptroller's office says analysts project this year's tax-free week, the state's first sales-tax vacation in four years, will result in a $9 million dollar loss in tax revenue.

A weeklong Maryland tax vacation in 2001 cost the state about $5 million, according to a study by the comptroller's office.

Maryland is one of at least 18 states that have a sales-tax respite this year, according to a recent study by the Tax Foundation. Two-thirds of them, including Maryland, are holding gubernatorial elections this year.

Liz Alexander, a teacher from Mt. Vernon, took her 2-year-old daughter, Chloe, to the Gallery to buy her clothes and shoes for the new school year, and found a few things for herself along the way.

Alexander said she planned to make a few more purchases before tax holiday ends. "I'll be back," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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