Tax Free Weekend: Everything you can and can not buy tax free for back-to-school time

If you have a student in the house, this weekend could be your chance to save a little when it comes to school supplies. Tax Free Weekend has returned as families prepare for back-to-school season. The tax holiday will impact purchases made from Friday until midnight Sunday.

According to the Texas Comptroller website,  the school supplies on this list priced under $100 qualify for exemption from tax during the sales tax holiday.

  • Binders
  • Blackboard chalk
  • Book bags
  • Calculators
  • Cellophane tape
  • Compasses
  • Composition books
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Folders – expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila
  • Glue, paste and paste sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Index card boxes
  • Kits*
  • 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 kits of school supplies that contain exempt items, as well as taxable ones, the taxability depends on the value of exempt or taxable items in it. There is no limit on the quantity of school supplies in a kit, but if the value of the exempt items is more than the taxable ones, the kit is exempt. If the value of the taxable items is more than the exempt ones, then the kit is taxable.

Clothing and footwear

During the sales tax holiday, you can buy most footwear and clothing sold for less than $100 tax free. You do not need to give the seller an exemption certificate. 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 following items DO NOT qualify for exemption during the sales tax holiday:

  • items sold for $100 or more
  • clothing subscription boxes
  • specially-designed athletic activity or protective-use clothing or footwear
    • For example, golf cleats and football pads are usually worn only when people play golf or football, so they do not qualify for the exemption.
    • Tennis shoes, jogging suits and swimsuits, however, can be worn for other than athletic activity and qualify for the exemption.
  • clothing or footwear rentals, alterations (including embroidery) and cleaning services
  • items used to make or repair clothing, such as fabric, thread, yarn, buttons, snaps, hooks and zippers
  • jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and other accessories
  • computers
  • software
  • textbooks

What about backpacks?

Student backpacks sold for less than $100 are exempt from tax. 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. The following items DO NOT qualify for this exemption:

  • framed backpacks
  • luggage
  • briefcases
  • athletic, duffle or gym bags
  • computer bags
  • purses

Click here for a complete list and other information about Tax Free Weekend.

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