Back-to-school time means annual sales tax holiday

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs says Texas families have a big opportunity to save money when they shop. The state’s annual sales tax holiday is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19-21.

“On that weekend, shoppers will pay no state or local sales tax on many school supplies, school backpacks and most children’s and adults’ clothing and shoes priced at less than $100,” Combs said. “ The tax break helps out when the kids’ back-to-school lists are long and money is short.”

This year, Combs predicts shoppers will save $62.1 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday. The tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999. Currently, the Tax Code sets the holiday for the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August.

As in prev ious years, the law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. Backpacks under $100 and used by elementary and secondary students are also exempt. A backpack is a pack with straps one wears on the back. The exemption during the sales tax holiday includes backpacks with wheels, provided they can also be worn on the back like a traditional backpack, and messenger bags.

The exempt ion doe s not include items that are reasonably defined as luggage, briefcases, athletic/duffle/gym bags, computer bags, purses or framed backpacks. Ten or fewer backpacks can be purchased tax-free at one time without providing an exemption certificate to the seller.

School supplies—The following is an all-inclusive list of qualifying school supplies (if priced less than $100):

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, 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 and writing tablets.

Tax-free clothing—Baby clothes, backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students, belts with attached buckles, boots (cowboy, hiking), caps/hats (baseball, fishing, golf, knitted), coats and wraps, diapers (adult and baby), dresses, gloves (generally), gym suits and uniforms, hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts, hosiery, jackets, jeans, jerseys (baseball and football), jogging apparel, neckwear and ties, pajamas, pants and trousers, raincoats and ponchos, robes, shirts, shoes (sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking), socks (including athletic), shorts, suits, slacks and jackets, sweatshirts, sweat suits, sweaters, swimsuits, underclothes, work clothes and uniforms.

Taxed items— Accessories (generally; barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets, watches), backpacks (unless for use by elementary and secondary students), baseball cleats and pants, belt buckles (without belt), boots (climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski, waders), buttons and zippers, cloth and lace, knitting yarns and other fabrics, dry cleaning services, football pants, golf gloves, handbags and purses, handkerchiefs, hard hats, helmets (bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle, sports), ice skates, jewelry, laundering services, leather goods (except belts with buckles and wearing apparel), pads (football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee, shoulder), personal flotation devices, rented clothing (including uniforms, formal wear and costumes), roller blades and skates, safety clothing and safety glasses, shoes (bicycle/cleated, bowling, golf).

Lists of apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax free can be found on the Comptroller’s website at http://

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