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Black Friday and S.C. sales tax bargains

I know. I know. I'm way behind the curve on this Black Friday -- so-called because many retailers depend on this one day to turn the red ink on their ledgers indicating losses into profitable black ink notations -- shopping thing.

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 26: Customers wait in line while shopping at Best Buy on November 26, 2010 in Fort Worth, United States. Shoppers waited in line outside the store overnight in an effort to secure the best deals on electronics when the store opened at 5 a.m. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

I meant to get this post up earlier, but the turkey's tryptophan really kicked in last night (or maybe it was that second piece of pumpkin pie) and I'm getting a later start than most folks on this major consumer day. 

Unlike me, price-conscious people looking for the best bargains were up at O'dark-thirty to get into their favorite stores offering early-bird Black Friday hours.

Double savings in S.C.: And some South Carolina shoppers get double savings this Black Friday.

The Palmetto State's annual Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday began at midnight today, Nov. 26, meaning shoppers looking for firearms can save even more.

Even better, South Carolinians, if you can't -- or just don't want to -- join the crowds today, the gun sales tax runs through Saturday, Nov. 27.

During these two days, the usual state and local sales taxes aren't collected on certain handguns, shotguns and rifles.

Remember use tax rules: And if you live along the South Carolina border and are thinking of heading into the state for the sales tax savings on a gun or two, think again.

You'll likely be liable for sales tax anyway, thanks to your home state's use tax.

The 44 states and Washington, D.C., that collect sales taxes also have use taxes that are the same rate as their sales taxes.

These use taxes generally apply to the "use, storage or other consumption" of tangible personal property within the state even if it wasn't bought in the state. If it had been, it would have been subject to the state's sales tax.

So if you, North Carolina shopper, drive across the state line to pick up a hunting rifle tax-free in South Carolina, the N.C. tax collector still wants you to pay him the 5.75 percent state use tax on the out-of-state purchase since you'll be using the gun in your home state.

Taxes as usual for everyone else: South Carolina's gun sales tax holiday is the only such event this year that coincides with Black Friday.

Washington, D.C., used to hold post-Thanksgiving no-sales-tax shopping days, but budgetary woes prompted city officials to skip the November tax holiday this year.

So the rest of us will just have to be content with price cuts alone today, and hope they're substantial enough to cover the sales taxes that state and local governments are eagerly collecting on this busiest shopping day of the year.

Happy bargain hunting!

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