The school year is rapidly approaching and parents everywhere will be getting prepared to send their children off to school. A pivotal time to buy supplies for school is the sales tax holiday – which this year will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11-13.


This is the second tax-free weekend that has taken place this year; the first one was held for emergency supplies in preparation for hurricane season.
The law exempts most items of clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks from sales and use taxes that are individually priced under $100. This could potentially save shoppers approximately $8 on every $100 they spend.
It is important to understand the rules and regulations of the sales tax holiday in order to best take advantage of it.
The exemption applies to most clothing and footwear. However, items made specifically for athletic or protective use, such as golf cleats or football pads, are not exempt. On the other hand, items such as tennis shoes, jogging suits and swimsuits are exempt – due to the fact that they are often used for purposes other that athletic activity.
The sales tax exemption does not cover rental clothing or footwear, alterations or cleaning services.
In addition, the exemption does not cover accessories such as jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches or any similar items.
Backpacks are exempt from sales tax. According to the Texas comptroller Glenn Hegar, “A backpack is a pack with straps one wears on the back. The exemption includes backpacks with wheels, provided they can also be worn on the back like a traditional backpack, and messenger bags.” However, this does not include “items that are reasonably defined as luggage, briefcases, athletic/duffle/gym bags, computer bags, purses or framed backpacks.”
School supplies are also exempt from taxes. Some examples of these items are binders, calculators, tape, chalk, composition books, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, highlighters, index cards, legal pads, lunchboxes, markers, notebooks, paper, pencils, pencil boxes, pencil sharpeners, pens, protractors, rulers and scissors.
“Most folks won’t hear the back-to-school bell for another month, but it’s never too early to take advantage of the opportunity to save money on everything from ball caps to ballpoint pens,” Hegar said. “As the father of three young children, I know how these expenses can add up.”
According to the comptroller’s website, “Persons buying qualifying school supplies during the holiday are not required to provide an exemption certificate – with one exception. If the purchaser is buying the items under a business account, the retailer must obtain an exemption certificate from the purchaser certifying that the items are purchased for use by an elementary or secondary school student.”
Items under a layaway plan are exempt from taxes if they are placed on layaway during the weekend or the final payment is made during the holiday.
Eligible items that are purchased during the tax-free weekend with a rain check qualify for tax exemption, regardless of when it was issued. However, items that are issued a rain check during the tax-free weekend are not quantifiable for tax exemption unless they are purchased during the holiday period.
Lists of apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax-free can be found on the comptroller’s website at TexasTaxHoliday.org.
This year, shoppers will save an estimated $87 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday.
Texas’ tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999.

Before you go …

… we’ve got a small favor to ask. More people are reading The Tribune than ever. Advertising revenues across the media  spectrum are falling fast. And unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Tribune's independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too. If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. Support the only locally owned, locally produced news product in the Lake Houston area.  And thank you!