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Pound Ridge Clothing Retailer Glad State Extending Sales Tax Exemption

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Assembly member Robert J. Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge) announced this week that New York’s sales tax exemption for clothing and footwear costing under $110, which was set to expire in March, will be renewed on April 1. The news got the approval of Pound Ridge clothing retailer Merri Virgilio, who hoped it could take away shoppers’ incentives to travel to Connecticut where there is also no sales tax on clothing.

The state’s 4 percent clothing and footwear sales tax exemption was first made permanent on March 1, 2000. Since then, it has been repealed and reinstated on several occasions. In last year’s budget, it was reinstated again.

“The sales tax exemption provides much-needed tax relief to working families, and will be especially helpful for parents purchasing back-to-school clothing for their children,” Castelli said. “The taxpayers of New York State need every tax break they can get, especially one to help struggling New York families purchase basic necessities.”

Virgilio, who co-owns Silhouette, a clothing and accessory retailer for young girls located on Westchester Avenue in Scott’s Corners, said she was happy to hear the exemption was extended, but wasn’t sure if some consumers even knew it existed in the first place.

“They don’t come in asking about it,” she said. “They don’t expect here. They go to Connecticut for it.”

Virgilio said that she still has to charge a local sales tax of around 3 percent. It would have risen to a total of 7 percent in taxes if the state’s tax exemption hadn’t been renewed.

“We talked to our accountant to make sure we were doing it right,” she said. “It’s kind of confusing. We have it programmed into our computer now.”

Virgilio said much of what her store sells costs less than $110 and hopes her customers will take note of the tax savings.

“It’s definitely a perk,” she said. “It’s nice you don’t get charged those few extra pennies.”

Virgilio noted that Silhouette is a specialty store with a niche target demographic. She said many shoppers still will have to travel to other towns to fulfill more extensive shopping lists.

However, those towns are included in the sale tax exemption as well. But Castelli said that some proprietors may not be aware of it. He advised shoppers to check their receipts to make sure any clothes or shoes that cost less than $110 were not taxed by the state. Like Pound Ridge, some local sales tax may still apply.

Castelli said he was hopeful that this time the tax break will provide some permanent relief for New York families.

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