School is about to start and you have an opportunity to save a lot of money this weekend as you get your children ready for class!

It's a 19-year tradition in Texas and a break from the 8.25 percent sales tax people pay every day on school supplies, shoes and clothing. The Legislature sets the dates for the sales tax holiday.

In Texas, the Sales Tax Holiday will take place This Friday through Sunday, August 11th through the 12th. This is later than other states, which hold their weekend one week earlier.

As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced less than $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. This includes items purchased online, by telephone or mail.

The Texas Comptroller's office has forecast shoppers will save $87 million in state and local taxes this weekend. More than 5.2 million students will return to the state's public schools this month in kindergarten through 12th grade. Stores are competing for that business and will be offering discounts in addition to the tax break.

Here’s some advice for shoppers looking to save money this weekend.

1. Check the time: Hours are extended at many shopping centers so it's worth checking with your favorite store or mall.

2. Check the list: There are no changes in the rules this year. School supplies include everything that would be on a school's classroom list plus lunch boxes.

3. Double check the list: It can be complicated to determine what’s tax free. For example, most shoes are included, but not all. Shoes with cleats are taxed but Soccer socks make it on the tax-free list. Diapers are exempt. Hunting vests are exempt, too. Jewelry, handbags, luggage, wallets, watches, Apple iPhones, and new sports equipment are taxed. Computers and electronics are not tax-free.

4 . Know your backpacks: The state of Texas defines backpacks. For this weekend only, the sales tax exemption applies to those priced under $100 and sold for use by elementary and secondary school students. Backpacks can have wheels but must have straps and also be able to be worn on the back. Don't try to turn luggage into a backpack. It won't work!

5. No rain-checks: When shopping this weekend, don't ask for a rain-check because it won’t be good for a tax-free purchase unless a new supply arrives before midnight Sunday, and you're there to make the purchase in time.

6. Lots of shoppers will be out looking to save this weekend, so remember that you can skip the lines because online, phone, & mail purchases are part of the sales tax weekend in Texas.

7. What about layaways? According to the Comptroller's website, "a sale of a qualifying item under a layaway plan qualifies for exemption if the customer places the qualifying merchandise on layaway during the holiday or makes the final payment during the holiday."

Below are some examples of tax-free items this weekend:


  • Baby clothes
  • Diapers
  • Blouses
  • Boots (general purpose; cowboy; hiking)
  • Bras
  • Caps (baseball, fishing, golf)
  • Children’s novelty costumes
  • Coats and wraps
  • Dresses
  • Employee uniforms (unless rented)
  • Gym suits and uniforms
  • Hats
  • Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts
  • Hosiery, including support hosiery
  • Jackets
  • Jeans
  • Jogging apparel
  • Neckwear and ties
  • Nightgowns and nightshirts
  • Pajamas
  • Pants
  • Panty hose
  • Raincoats and ponchos
  • Robes
  • Scout uniforms
  • Shirts
  • Shoes (most but not all)
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Socks
  • Suits, slacks, and jackets
  • Sweaters
  • Swimsuits
  • Underclothes
  • Work clothes
  • Work uniforms
  • Workout clothes

school supplies:

  • Binders
  • Book bags
  • Calculators
  • Cellophane tape
  • Blackboard chalk
  • Compasses
  • Composition books
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Folders; expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila
  • Glue, paste and paste sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Index card boxes
  • Legal pads
  • Lunch boxes
  • Markers (including dry erase markers)
  • Notebooks
  • Paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper
  • Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Protractors
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Writing tablets

For more information, go to Sales Tax Holiday.

Officials expect shoppers to save millions during the weekend event, which has run annually since 1999.

Happy Tax-Free Shopping!

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