A woman hand carrying a bunch of colorful shopping bagsThis weekend Brookline residents shopping local will save not only time, but money.

You can thank Governor Deval Patrick for recently signing off on a bill to make August 10-11, 2013, a tax-free weekend in Massachusetts. The usual 6.25% sales tax will be waived on most purchases costing less than $2,500. The tax waiver also applies to receipts containing multiple items totaling above the threshold, as long as all individual items each cost less than $2,500. There are some exceptions: motor vehicles, motorboats, telecommunications services, gas, steam, electricity, and tobacco products will still be taxed. And if after shopping you go to grab a bite, you will still pay a meals tax.

Speaking to The Republican, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts John B. Hurst, noted how the two-day tax holiday is growing in importance as more consumers use their smartphones to buy tax-free over the Internet or drive to New Hampshire where there isn’t a sales tax. Tax holidays help local businesses compete in a crowded marketplace.

The tax holiday in Massachusetts started in 2004 and has only skipped one year since then, 2009, because of the recession. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, there has been much debate over whether to offer tax holidays in the state. Massachusetts Sen. Gale Candaras said in a statement, “Every year, we look at the totality of circumstances as to whether the sales tax holiday makes sense. In my opinion, the public likes it, people look forward to it.  I’d like it to be done for Massachusetts businesses and shoppers, alike.”

–Jennifer Campaniolo