Tax-free weekend begins Saturday for Arkansas

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Arkansas shoppers have 48 hours this weekend in which to shop for back-to-school items without being taxed.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, and ending at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, the State of Arkansas will hold its sales tax holiday.

State and local sales tax will not be collected during this 48-hour period on the sale of:

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Clothing and footwear if the sales price is less than $100 per item
Clothing accessories and equipment if the sales price is less than $50 per item
School supplies
School art supplies
School instructional materials
To see a list of allowable tax-free items in Arkansas visit: http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/exciseTax/salesanduse/Documents/holidayItemized.pdf

Texas’ tax-free weekend will be held Aug. 8-10. And, just like in Arkansas, the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.

school supplies small imageSales of qualifying items made during the holiday period qualify for the exemption, including items sold online, or by telephone or mail. Lay-away plans can be also used to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

Understanding the tax exemption can be confusing, especially if multiple items are being purchased. The tax exemption applies to each eligible item that sells for less than $100, regardless of how many items are sold on the same invoice to a customer. For example, if a customer purchases two shirts for $80 each, then both items qualify for the exemption, even though the customer’s total purchase price ($160) exceeds $99.99.

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

The exemption also does not apply to sales of special clothing or footwear that the manufacturer has designed for athletic activity or protective use and, one that is not normally worn except when used only for that purpose. 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. Therefore, they do not qualify for the exemption.

Tennis shoes, jogging suits and swimsuits, however, are commonly worn for purposes other than just athletic activity and thus qualify for the exemption.

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

The exemption does not, however, include items that are reasonably defined as luggage or briefcases.

The dates for the sales tax holidays are set by the State Legislatures. Retailers are required to participate and may not charge tax on items that are legally tax-exempt on those days.

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