By CLINT FOSTER
It’s that time of year again. That joyous time for students known as summer vacation is quickly drawing to a close.
It won’t be long before parents will have to scramble to find their kids all of the various supplies and other necessities they might need as the school year starts anew once again. And one of the most popular times to get these items has always been tax-free weekend. But make sure you know when tax-free weekend is this year before you go to your favorite store expecting a hefty back-to-school discount.
This year, a change in state law has moved the annual holiday that slashes sales tax to an earlier date – the weekend of Aug. 9-11. Families could expect to save an average of $8.25 per $100 spent on qualifying items during this year’s sales.
Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, was responsible for the law changing tax-free weekend.
He said the move was an attempt to make the month of August easier on the Dallas apparel market, when retailers are preparing to buy inventory for the next season. Houston-area schools also start earlier this year, so Ellis said he wanted to give parents of those students plenty of time to shop.
The list of tax-free items is the same as it was in 2012. The State Comptroller’s website, http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/d/, has listings and information on the sales tax holiday.
Typically, items must be less than $100 to qualify. Some examples of items exempt from sales tax include school supplies, backpacks and clothes.
Non-essential items such as jewelry or purses are still taxed.
For most families heading back to school, it would appear clothes are just as important – if not more important – than school supplies. According to the United States Census Bureau, $8.5 billion was spent at family clothing stores last August compared to a total of $2 billion at bookstores.