Tax-free holiday starts today

Statewide sales tax holiday runs from Aug. 17 to 19

HOUSTON - The Texas Sales Tax Holiday started Friday and will last until Sunday, giving shoppers ample opportunities to save money on a variety of back-to-school items.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said the law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.

The 2009 Legislature expanded the list of items qualifying for tax exemption during the three-day weekend. Texas families 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. The list includes binders, book bags, lunch boxes, calculators, notebooks, pens, pencils, glue and more. Backpacks are also exempt.

The comptroller's office said shoppers will save an estimated $64.8 million in state and local sales taxes during this year's sales tax holiday.

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

Shoppers don't have to have a child to save. Adults can get the deal on many items for themselves. Many stores are offering additional sales and discounts on top of taking off the tax.

Some stores extend their hours to allow shoppers even more time to save.

Here are some of the guidelines for tax-free weekend:

  • Customers will receive the break on individual items, regardless of the total amount they buy. For example, sales tax is not due if a customer buys six shirts each priced at $99 each. But full tax is due on a shirt sold for $100.
  • Clothing and footwear used primarily for athletic activities or for protective wear are not eligible for the exemption. For example, customers buying golf cleats or football pads must pay sales tax. Athletic wear that is also used for other non-athletic activities qualify for the tax exemption. For example, tennis shoes, baseball caps and jogging suits are often worn during everyday activities and will be tax-free.
  • Accessories such as jewelry and watches are excluded and will be taxed, as well as items that are carried rather than worn, including handbags, briefcases and wallets.

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