Numerous back-to-school needs will be tax-free this weekend

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Families can get a healthy break on back-to-school costs during Texas’ Sales Tax Holiday running Friday through Sunday.

The statewide breather covers everything from school supplies and clothing to footwear – Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office has put together a comprehensive online guide to what is and is not eligible, accessible at TexasTaxHoliday.org.

The three-day shopping event begins Aug. 10 and continues through midnight Sunday, Aug. 12.

According a late-July release from Hegar’s office, “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.”

The tax holiday weekends have been an annual event since 1999. State officials estimate shoppers will save $90.3 million in state and local sales taxes during this year’s three-day break.

“As Texas families begin the process of replacing their beach bags with book bags, Texas’ sales tax holiday is the perfect opportunity to save some money on the supplies families need before the school bell rings,” Hegar said. “As a dad to three young children, I know how these expenses can add up.”

The holiday includes tax waivers on in-store purchases as well as those from an online portal or catalog seller doing business in Texas. Items bought before or after the sales tax holiday do not qualify for exemption, and there is no tax refund available, according to the state. Customers do not need to give sellers an exemption certificate.

“The exemption applies to each eligible item sold for less than $100, and there is no limit to the number of qualifying items you can buy,” according to TexasTaxHoliday.org.

(For a list of eligible school supplies, see inset.)

The state highlighted a group of products that don’t qualify for the exemption including:

• items sold for $100 or more

• clothing subscription boxes

• specially-designed athletic activity or protective-use clothing or footwear

• For example, golf cleats and football pads are usually worn only when people play golf or football, so they do not qualify for the exemption.

• Tennis shoes, jogging suits and swimsuits, however, can be worn for other than athletic activity and qualify for the exemption.

• clothing or footwear rentals, alterations (including embroidery) and cleaning services

• items used to make or repair clothing, such as fabric, thread, yarn, buttons, snaps, hooks and zippers

• jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and other accessories

• computers

• software

• textbooks

Also, “During the sales tax holiday, student backpacks sold for less than $100 are exempt from tax,” according to TexasTaxHoliday.org. “The exemption includes backpacks with wheels and messenger bags. You can buy up to 10 backpacks tax free at one time without giving an exemption certificate to the seller.”

Non-qualifying bags include: framed backpacks; luggage; briefcases; athletic, duffle or gym bags; computer bags and purses.

– By JAMES DRAPER

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