Hunters can save hundreds in sales tax for purchases Sept. 4-6
Mississippi sportsmen are now less than two weeks away from one of the biggest weekends of the year, and the only people looking forward to it more are owners of stores that cater to hunters.
The long Labor Day weekend, which starts on Friday Sept. 4 and ends on Monday Sept. 7, includes three big things:
* The opening of college football season.
* A first-ever 4-day opening holiday weekend of dove hunting, beginning at noon on Friday.
* The second “2nd Amendment Tax Free Weekend,” during which most sales related to hunting goods from the opening of business on Friday to the close on Sunday will be excused from the normal 7 percent state sales tax.
It’s the latter two that has the sportsmen and women interested, and the third one that has store owners all agog.
“Last year, it was a big weekend for us, that tax-free deal,” said Van Allen, owner of Van’s Sporting Goods and Deer Processing in Brandon. “And, this year, it’s going to be even bigger. For one thing, last year, a lot of people didn’t even know about it, even though it had been publicized. We had people come in to buy stuff that qualified and didn’t even know about it.
“This year, they know about it, and we’re making sure they do. We’re telling people about it. We’re advertising it. And, we’re not the only ones.”
Allen, a Brandon native who also owns a store in Alabama, said he started seeing benefits of the tax-free weekend weeks in advance.
“We had people coming in to buy guns and putting their names on them with the plan to come back during the tax-free weekend to make the purchase,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of guns already picked out by people and tagged with their names. You think about it, somebody planning on buying a $1,500 shotgun or rifle, he or she is looking at saving close to $100 in sales tax. It’s even more for a high-end gun.
“Even dove hunters looking to load up on shells, like our most popular Rio 1¼-ounce loads that are $99 a case, they can save $7 per case in taxes. They can come in on Friday morning and pick up those shells and still make the noon opening dove hunt.”
Mississippi’s 70-day dove season is front-end heavy in the North Zone, which includes all but the southeastern corner of the state. It opens on Sept. 4 at noon, and with the exception of two days in early October, when it briefly closes on two weekdays (Oct. 8-9), hunters can shoot straight through to Oct. 31.
“From the doves I’ve started seeing on the power lines from the corn and bean fields around Canton all the way up into the Delta, it’s going to be a good season,” said Tommy Riles of Madison. “They’re everywhere and I mean 60 or 70 in a group on a power line. Driving up (U.S.) Highways 49 and 61 in the Delta, you see them flying low across the roads in front of you constantly from one corn or bean field to the other.
“I plan to take my boys (two sons, 10 and 12) at least three of the four days that opening weekend, starting with taking them out of school at noon on Friday to hunt that afternoon and then hunt on Saturday and Monday, for sure. Sunday afternoon, well, we’ll see what their mama says about that.”
Either way, he says a stop at a local sporting goods store will be included in Friday’s schedule.
“My sons both shoot 20 gauges, and I shoot a 12, and we hunt every weekend we can during the first dove season,” Riles said. “They sky blast an awful lot, so yeah, we can burn up a bunch of shells. We also have a skeet slinger so we shoot at a lot of clays for practice. We’ll burn up last year’s leftover shells and then load up on that Friday. I bet I save over $20 or $30 in tax money that morning.”
In addition to guns and ammo, the tax exemption extends to other hunting accessories like clothing and stands.
“Last year, it was big for us, on everything,” Allen said. “We sold a lot of everything that qualified. This year, we’ll do even better because we are planning to hold a sale in conjunction with the tax-exempt weekends on items that qualify. I know a lot of the stores are doing the same thing.”
Under legislation passed in 2014, no sales tax will be required on the retail sales of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies, with “hunting supplies” described as “tangible personal property used for hunting, including, and limited to, archery equipment, firearm and archery cases, firearm and archery accessories, hearing protection, holsters, belts and slings. Hunting supplies does not include animals used for hunting.”
The sales tax exemption is allowed on eligible items transferred from a seller to a purchaser, and on items that are ordered and paid for by the purchaser from a seller who accepts the order for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the sale period (provided that the purchaser has not requested or caused the delay in shipment).