, Salem, MA

August 1, 2013

Lawmakers pass state sales tax holiday


---- — BOSTON — Some major furniture retailers in recent weeks have been touting sales tied to an August sales tax holiday.

However, it was only yesterday that lawmakers sent a bill to the governor’s desk designating the weekend of Aug. 10 and 11 for the sales tax reprieve.

The move is designed to increase sales for local businesses and stretch consumer dollars as kids get ready to head back to school.

If signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, as expected, this will be the eighth year that the Bay State is providing a two-day sales tax exemption, according to a statement from state Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem. The present sales tax is 6.25 percent, and the holiday applies to single-item purchases less than $2,500.

“That is a good thing for consumers,” said Lovely, who said the move will provide a lift for businesses. Such a holiday makes sense for those shopping for big-ticket items such as appliances, she said.

“I’m hoping that this tax holiday will give a late-summer boost to our local businesses,” Lovely said in a prepared statement. “It’s always helpful to lift the sales tax and give consumers a good opportunity to make some significant purchases and save money.”

“The sales tax holiday is always a great way to promote economic activity for both buyers and sellers,” said state Rep. John Keenan, D-Salem, in the statement. “I am happy to join my colleagues in the legislature to once again capitalize on this opportunity to invest in our local businesses and provide some reprieve for our taxpayers.”

Lovely said state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, proposed an amendment to make the sales tax holiday permanent, but since the Senate was not in formal session and lacked a quorum, the measure failed to move forward.

“I know this break in the sales tax spurs many businesses to offer additional discounts that make it even more attractive for consumers,” said state Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, in the statement.

Those looking to save by purchasing cars, motorboats, tobacco, meals or utilities, you are out of luck: The sales tax holiday does not apply to these items.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.