Annual state sales tax holiday offers school supplies savings

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Whether you’re in need of book bags, blackboard chalk or bell-bottom pants, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is reminding shoppers they can save money on those and certain other items during the state’s sales tax holiday. This year, the sales tax holiday is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, Aug. 10-12.

Texas’ tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999. This year, shoppers will save an estimated $90.3 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday.

The law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced below $100 from sales tax, saving shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend during the weekend.

Retailers are not required to collect state and local sales or use tax on most footwear and clothing that are sold for less than $100 during the holiday. The exemption applies to each eligible item that sells for less $100, regardless of how many items are sold on the same invoice to a customer.

The exemption does not apply to sales of special clothing or footwear that the manufacturer primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use and that is not normally worn except when used for the athletic activity or protective use for which the manufacturer designed the article. For example, golf cleats and football pads are primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use and are not normally worn except for those purposes; they do not qualify for the exemption. Tennis shoes, jogging suits and swimsuits, however, are commonly worn for purposes other than athletic activity and thus qualify for the exemption.

Backpacks priced less than $100 sold for use by elementary and secondary students are exempt during the tax holiday. A backpack is a pack with straps one wears on the back. The exemption includes backpacks with wheels, provided they can also be worn on the back like a traditional backpack, and messenger bags.

The exemption does not include items that are reasonably defined as luggage, briefcases, athletic/duffle/gym bags, computer bags, purses or framed backpacks.

Texas families also get a sales tax break on most school supplies priced at less than $100 for use by a student in an elementary or secondary school.

The tax exemption applies to most basic school supplies including, but not limited to, binders, calculators, composition books, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, highlighters, index cards, lunch boxes, markers, notebooks, paper, pencils, pens, protractors, rulers, scissors and writing tablets.

For complete lists of apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax-free, visit the comptroller’s website at TexasTaxHoliday.org.

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