Back to school supplies and clothing are commonly known as tax-exempt items during Texas' Sales Tax Holiday, which is held from Aug. 10 through Aug. 12.
But what exactly fits under tax exemption and what doesn't?
The Texas Comptroller's Office released its guide to which items qualify for tax exemption and which items do not.
First and foremost, the item must be priced under $100 to qualify for the tax-free holiday. The $100 quota is a "per item" price, too. From there, the list becomes item-specific.
CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR
According to the website, most clothing and footwear is tax-exempt. 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, the website says. So for example, you could buy a $50 shirt, a $30 pair of jeans, and a $60 pair of tennis shoes and each item qualifies for tax exemption even though the total is $150.
Examples of items not included for the tax-free weekend: specially-designed athletic activity or protective-use clothing or footwear -- such as golf cleats or football pads -- jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and other accessories.
For a full list of tax-free qualifying clothing and footwear, click here.
Most student backpacks sold for under $100 dollars will be tax-exempt. 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, according to the Texas Comptroller's website.
Examples of bags that are not included in the tax-free holiday are:
- athletic, duffel or gym bags
- computer bags
Only specific school supplies sold for less than $100 qualify for the exemption, and an exemption certificate is not required, the website says. Binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, and erasers are among the popular tax-free school supplies. For a full list of tax-free school supplies, click here.
OTHER TAX-FREE SITUATIONS
1. Buying school supplies with a business account: If you plan on buying school supplies with a business account, you must complete Form 01-339, Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate, first and present that to the seller.
2. Paying for "specially ordered" or "back ordered" tax-free items: you must pay for the qualifying item during tax-free weekend for it to be tax exempt. For example, if you want to buy an $80 shirt that qualifies for tax-free weekend, but it needs to be special-ordered and will not be able for pickup until after tax-free weekend is over, the shirt must be paid for during the holiday or else the shirt will be taxable.
Sarah Hollenbeck is a shopping and savings expert with Offers.com and scopes out the best deals being offered across the state for parents to keep an eye out for this weekend.
"Shoppers can shop both online and in-store and take advantage of that tax-free exemption. I think it's important for shoppers to understand they can still use coupons while shopping this weekend," explained Hollenbeck. "They can apply those to all the different items they're buying that are tax exempt as long as the items ring in under $100 before the coupon is applied."
Behind-the-scenes of the shopping, the weekend proves to be one of the busiest for school supply hot spots. However, Sarah Fox, assistant store director of H-E-B at the Hancock Center, says her team makes it the utmost priority to make sure everything parents and students need are out on the shelves.
"On our end, even from making space in the back room to staffing to making sure that we're constantly restocking all of our supplies spreading out the things that customers need. So, definitely a lot of work on the back end, but we do it because we love it. And we want to make sure we're here for the customer," said Fox.
For more information about the tax-free weekend, visit the Texas Comptroller's website here.