Tax reboot! Sales tax on clothes returns today!

Tax reboot! Sales tax on clothes returns today!
Photo by Damian Harris-Hernandez

The next time you go clothes shopping, bring an extra 4.375 percent with you.

The cash-strapped state has again added a 4.375-percent tax on clothes and shoes costing under $110, effective on Friday.

The tax, which hands over four percent to state coffers and .375 percent to the MTA, had been levied on and off for years. It was most recently rescinded in 2006. But facing an $8.2-billion deficit, the state legislature opted to reinstate the tax this summer, but delayed instituting it until Oct. 1 to avoid the appearance of soaking back-to-school shoppers.

Still, the move doesn’t sit well with Brooklyn retailers.

“When there’s an additional cost on basic clothing items, you’re going to feel the pinch,” said Carl Hum, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Shoppers will feel it and so will the store owner. It could stall the growth of retail operations opening in the borough.”

The city hasn’t charged its 4.5-percent sales tax on clothing under $110 since September, 2005, meaning that shoppers don’t have to pay the usual 8.875-percent sales tax on top of the purchase price. A law now says that next April 1, the state will again stop taxing clothing — but only on shoes and garment that costs $55 or less.

Yet, Hum is still hoping the tax will one day go away completely.

“Once the state has a more robust tax base, maybe they’ll realize that they can do a lot more with honey than vinegar,” he said.