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Huge Grill and Fireplace Sale! Save Money This Weekend

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Massachusetts sales tax holiday is back this weekend. Here’s what to know.

Your chance to save some cash is coming back on Aug. 17 and 18, 2019.

Everybody loves a deal.

And if there’s ever a prime opportunity to scoop one up in Massachusetts — fireplace insert or gas grill you’ve been eyeing — that moment is coming soon.

This weekend, the state’s sales tax holiday returns, giving shoppers a chance to make some big-ticket purchases without fretting over the Commonwealth’s usual 6.25 percent cut of the bill.

Here’s everything to know about the two-day, tax-free affair, including when it is and how you can use it.

When is the tax holiday?

This year’s holiday is set for Aug. 17 and 18.

It’s about a week later than last year’s event, when the annual, two-day exemption returned after lawmakers decided to forgo it in 2016 and 2017 because of budget gaps.

In June, Rep. Paul Donato told the State House News Service pushing the holiday back a week “would be a better time for businesses.”

You can take advantage of the tax exemptions as long as the item is paid for within Eastern Standard Time hours between Aug. 17 and 18.

No sales tax is due on that purchase, even if delivery of the item occurs after the sales tax holiday weekend.

Similarly, if you purchase an item in-store during the holiday, you can still schedule home delivery after the weekend ends without paying tax.

What’s exempt from being tax-free?

Some items and products are not tax-free during the weekend. They are:

  • Motorboats
  • Motor vehicles
  • Tobacco products
  • Marijuana or marijuana products
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Telecommunications services
  • Steam
  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Any single item that costs more than $2,500

The tax holiday only applies to individuals who are buying items for personal use only.

Is there a limit? What is it?

Yes, there is a limit. The sales tax holiday only applies to items that cost $2,500 or less.

It’s important to note the $2,500 limit only applies to the cost of each individual item. If you purchase several items under that amount and the total bill surpasses $2,500, you won’t have to pay sales tax.

Are rentals tax-free? What about layaway purchases?

Generally speaking, rentals of up to 30 days are tax free during the holiday, but only if they are not one of the exempt items in the list above, such as motor vehicles or motor boats.

Do I have to pay tax if, after the holiday, I return or exchange an item I bought tax-free?

No. Taxes will not be retroactively charged.

What else should I know?

If you’re unable to make that big purchase in August, there’s always next year.

Massachusetts lawmakers passed a law in 2018 that permanently creates a tax holiday weekend every year, so rest assured you’ll have another chance to score a deal.

Contact The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA for more information.

Grilling with Propane

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 08, 2019
The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA - Blaze Gas Grills

Grilling with propane (and propane accessories) is looked down upon by many BBQ enthusiasts, as it doesn’t impart any flavor onto the meat in the same way that charcoal does. But after speaking to chefs around the country, we’ve found some who valiantly defend the use of propane.

It's convenient, like a 7-Eleven

If this article were the big board on Family Feud, the No. 1 survey answer would be: “It’s quick and easy!” All the experts we spoke to love charcoal. But on the flipside, it’s so easy to start a propane grill, you can do it with a beer in your hand, and that alone is a pretty good defense of propane. Plus, lighting charcoal is a huge pain in the neck. Also, grilling with gas is much more straightforward for basic weeknight grilling -- it's quick to set-up and quick to clean-up.

If you’re a weekend grill warrior and your days are filled with other activities, the time saved using a propane grill is beneficial. You just light it and wait for the temp to rise versus building a fire and keeping a watchful eye on it.

Propane is great if you want an “easy-going cookout.” Charcoal is not a set it and forget it type deal. There’s no loading of the grill or meticulously organizing coals and wood to evenly create hot zones. Plus, during the cooking process, it’s much easier to adjust your temperature as needed without having to poke the embers (and probably singe your favorite shirt in the process!).

Heat zones make grilling a snap

If you’re going to make the effort to grill, you’re probably wanting to whip up a few different proteins and vegetables. Propane grilling makes this a snap. It’s harder to control heat levels with charcoal, but with propane you can cook a whole meal on the grill. Higher heat on one side for grilling burgers, steaks or hot dogs, and lower heat on the other for buns or veggies like asparagus, eggplant and zucchini.

Vegetables are extremely propane-friendly

Just make sure there’s no flame on the vegetables as they’re grilling or they’ll get a bad taste and burn marks. Position them at ten o’clock and then switch them over to two o’clock and you’ll have perfect x’s on your vegetables.

Plus, the smoky flavors imparted by charcoal aren’t always welcome. While it’s harder to develop smoky flavor profiles you get from wood on a propane grill, that same smokiness can also be a disadvantage by overpowering certain foods that are more delicate, like seafood or vegetables.

Smoking is still an option

There’s a way to get smoky flavors from a propane grill. Many of the newer grills have smoke boxes that allow you to put in wood chips that create flavorful smoke. So you can actually smoke, say, a pork shoulder on your propane grill. It’s not optimal, but you can get good smoke flavor into the meat.

For those without a new propane grill, you can always take hickory or cherry wood chips and wrap them in aluminum foil,” he recommended. Poke a couple of holes in the top, and they’ll smolder on the grill to fill it with smoke, achieving that desired extra flavor element followed by a two-second clean-up. No big deal, as you were headed back to the grill for seconds regardless.

Need a new grill, take advantage of tax-free weekend. Contact The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA for more information.

Huge Sale Tax Free Weekend!

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 01, 2019