EASTON— Comptroller Peter Franchot presented Target with a proclamation in recognition of their success; and encouraging Maryland consumers to enjoy the annual Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

“During this back to school season, Target is making shopping easier than ever by creating a one stop shop for the guests for all of the back to school needs whether it is supplies, apparel or décor for college,” Former Target Service and Engagement ETL Bethany Insley said. “With the recent remodel and renovations we have had in the store, its easy for our guests to quickly come in and get items they are looking for.”

The tax-free week began on Sunday, Aug.11, and runs through midnight Saturday, Aug. 17, giving consumers the opportunity to buy single qualifying article of clothing or footwear priced $100 or less. This is regardless of how many items are purchased at the same time, and will be exempt from the state’s 6% sales tax. The first $40 of any backpack purchase also is tax free.

The University System of Maryland (USM) Foundation has announced that it will generously match the $2,500 top prize provided by the Maryland Retailers Association (MRA) if the winner attends a member institution. This means a total prize of $5,000 could be awaiting one Marylander.

Salisbury University has stepped up the University System of Maryland’s match of $2,500 to the original scholarship sponsored by the Maryland Retailers Association during Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week. If the student selected for the $2,500 scholarship is a Salisbury student, she/he will receive $2,500 from MRA, $2,500 from USM and $2,500 from Salisbury.

The Comptroller once again is joining with the Maryland Retailers Association to promote a social media contest in which two winners will receive $2,500 and $1,000 scholarships, respectively to any Maryland University, college or trade school.

“This is a huge help to the state of Maryland because it jump starts fall shopping season,” Franchot said. “We have a strong economy right now because of all of the federal tax cuts and the impact on the state so basically there is a lot of money available for people and we are giving them a small thank you by this one week of giving the six percent sales tax on clothing and shoes. This is the state’s way by saying thank you. This years things look good.”

Once again, entering the contest is simple. Eligible students simply need to:

• Take a fun photo or video while shopping.

• Write a catchy caption. Be creative to catch the eye of the judges!

• Post to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #shopmdtaxfree

Shoppers can follow or like the official social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information. After tax-free week, the MRA will select the two entries that best reflect the spirit of the contest and announce the winners.

A scholarship presentation will take place in the following weeks.

This is the third year that the MRA have provided scholarship money for Maryland College or trade school students.

“The University System of Maryland is pleased to support this year’s Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week, which is an important and effective way that Maryland students and families can stretch their back-to-school dollars,” USM Chancellor Robert Caret said. “We’re happy to do our part to support this important effort by Comptroller Peter Franchot and the MRA.”

In addition, USM institutions may individually choose to add on to this amount with their own matching scholarship, meaning the prize could go even higher. For more information on qualifying items, visit marylandtaxes.gov, email taxhelp@comp.state.md.us or call 1-800-MD-TAXES.

“I’m a big proponent of lowering taxes, less government and this holiday that we do has proven to be very effective, and thank you for supporting the tradition,” said Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot. “I want to say thanks to everybody at target, we are here on tax free day celebrating you guys and all you are going to do with you kids. As a citizen, I know I can come to Target.”

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