What you can and can't buy tax-free on the tax holiday

Wedding gowns! Hunting vests! Beach capes! But no scanners or e-books

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It's that magical time of year again, when the S.C. Department of Revenue baffles and amuses us all with the list of items that will be tax-exempt purchases during the annual Sales Tax Holiday.

The tax holiday, which will take place Fri. Aug. 2 through Sun. Aug. 4, was originally established by the state legislature to help families buy back-to-school supplies, but it takes some imagination to figure out why some items make the list and others don't. The Department of Revenue has released a full list here.

Some of the items on the tax-exempt list are no-brainers: pens, pencils, binders, paper, dictionaries, bookbags, calculators, and most clothing items. But a few seemingly logical back-to-school items are specifically mentioned as not tax-exempt, including e-books and smartphones. Computer monitors, keyboards, and scanners are only tax-exempt if you buy them in a package with a computer; sold individually, they are taxable. College students will also pay full tax for some common dorm-room purchases including cookware, clocks, wastebaskets, refrigerators, toiletries, and bicycles.

Meanwhile, here are some of the other items that you will be able to buy sans tax on this merry holiday:

• Adult diapers

• Antique clothing

• Beach capes

• Ski boots

• Fishing boots

• Bridal gowns and veils (must be sold; rentals are taxable)

• Corsets and corset laces

• Costumes (must be sold; rentals are taxable)

• Hunting vests

• Ice skates and in-line skates

• Riding pants

• Shoulder pads for dresses and jackets, but not for athletic protective pads

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