Clothing sales tax coming back to New York

The News Leader

September 25, 2010 1:43:03 PM PDT
The tax time-out that allowed New York shoppers to avoid the state sales tax is about to run out. The recession is taking a toll on state revenues and the sales tax on clothing costing less than $110 is back on, starting a week from today.

It's one of those little things that really do mean a lot.

"I just think it's good that we have no sales tax on most items that families are buying. It really makes a difference in the final bill," Emily Phillips of Cobble Hill said. "I think it's a problem that's it's going away. It's going to affect a lot of families."

Not anymore. The New York State four percent sales tax exemption on clothes and shoes under $110 will expire in a week on Friday October 1.

"It doesn't look like it... so it was $88.80 and you didn't pay sales tax on that. Nope," said Alycia, a shopper.

Some shoppers are getting what tax savings they can before the exemption expires. State legislators voted to repeal the exemption in August -- in hopes of closing the budget gap. Some city leaders had their hands tied.

"This hurts people worst, who are least able to pay," comments Jimmy Vacca, New York City Councilman for the 13th district.

When you boil it all down, it is a savings of less than five dollars. However, those five dollars can buy a t-shirt or leggings, and moms say the savings really add up in the end.

"It saves a lot of money," said Alycia.

"I'm usually buying for my three kids, and almost all of their single item clothing--pieces of clothing are under a hundred dollars. So it certainly benefits me, that all of their clothes are not taxed," Phillips said.

Between October 1 and March 31, customers will not get a break at all and have to pay the full four percent.

However, the exemption returns for a full year in April 1, 2011, through March 31, 2012. It will only apply to purchases less than $55.

"That's seven months away. And we have Thanksgiving coming up, we have New Years coming up, it's horrible," said Alycia.

This state strategy to make money may not be as effective as planned.

"We used to go to New Jersey to shop, because they have no sales tax on clothes. And it was nice to shop here in New York, but now I think those dollars will go back to New Jersey," Phillips said.