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Sales tax ‘holiday’ is this weekend

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Texas’ annual sales tax “holiday” is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8-10.

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

State Comptroller Susan Combs estimates that this year, shoppers will save an estimated $82.7 million in state and local sales taxes over the weekend.

The tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999.

All sales of qualifying items made during the holiday period qualify for the exemption, including items sold online, by telephone or mail. Layaway plans can be used again this year to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

The exemption applies to each eligible item that sells for less than $100, regardless of how many items are sold at the same time. For example, if a customer purchases two shirts for $80 each, both items qualify for the exemption even though the total purchase is more than $100.

The exemption does not apply to the first $99.99 of an eligible item that sells for more than $99.99. For example, if someone buys a pair of pants that costs $110, sales tax is due on the entire $110.

The exemption also does not apply to special clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic activity. Golf cleats and football pads are examples. Tennis shoes, jogging suits and swimsuits, however, are commonly worn for non-athletic activity and thus qualify.

The sales tax holiday does not include rental of clothing or footwear; nor does it apply to alteration or cleaning services performed on clothes and shoes.

Additionally, tax is due on sales of accessories, including jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and similar items.

Backpacks priced under $100, sold for use by elementary and secondary students, are exempt during the sales tax holiday. This includes backpacks with wheels, provided they can also be worn on the back like a traditional backpack.

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 purchased for use by a student in an elementary or secondary school.

School supplies that qualify for the exemption (if priced less than $100) are:

  • binders
  • book bags
  • calculators
  • cellophane tape
  • blackboard chalk
  • compasses
  • composition books
  • crayons
  • erasers
  • folders; expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila
  • glue, paste and paste sticks
  • highlighters
  • index cards
  • index card boxes
  • legal pads
  • lunch boxes
  • markers (including dry erase markers)
  • notebooks
  • paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board and construction paper
  • pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
  • pencil sharpeners
  • pencils
  • pens
  • protractors
  • rulers
  • scissors
  • writing tablets

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