Back-to-school sales tax holiday is August 1-3

7/23/2014, 3:26 p.m.
For the ninth straight year, many clothing items, footwear and school and office supplies will be sales tax-free during the ...
Make a list of needed school items because Virginia’s most popular sales tax holiday is just around the corner.

Are you thinking about preparing for the upcoming school year – kindergarten, college, or somewhere in between? Or maybe you’ve finished school, but want to refresh your wardrobe or stock up on office supplies? If so, you may want to make a list because Virginia’s most popular sales tax holiday is just around the corner.

For the ninth straight year, many clothing items, footwear, and school and office supplies will be sales tax-free during the first full weekend in August, which is Aug. 1-3 this year. It’s a great time to buy what you need while saving some money.

During the three-day event, most school supplies that cost $20 or less each, as well as clothing items and pairs of shoes priced at $100 or less each will be exempt from Virginia’s 5.3 percent state and local sales tax. You’ll save even more in most Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads localities, where the sales tax is 6 percent. For example, if you spend $500 on qualifying items during the sales tax holiday, you’ll save $26.50 on exempt purchases. You’ll save $30 in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

The list of tax-exempt items is the same as last year. It includes, for example, pens, pencils, loose leaf ruled notebook paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, construction paper, sneakers, hats, shirts, dresses, jeans, bathing suits, diapers, T-shirts, and many other items. There is no requirement that the purchases be made for school purposes.

All retailers who sell the exempt items are required to participate.

“This is the most universal of Virginia’s three sales tax holidays, so it’s been very popular among both consumers and businesses in Virginia,” said Tax Commissioner Craig Burns. “Returning to class is an exciting time for students, but it can also be a stressful time for their parents. Foregoing the sales tax on some necessary purchases is especially beneficial to large families who are sending multiple children back to school.”

The tax-exempt items are available to anyone shopping in the state and there is no limit on the number of products you can buy tax-free as long as each one qualifies under the guidelines.

If you can’t get out to the stores, but still want to shop and save, online purchases of qualifying items are also tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday.

During this sales tax holiday, retailers may also choose to save taxpayers even more money by absorbing, or paying themselves, the sales tax on items that are not eligible for exemption. In past years, many stores have taken advantage of this opportunity and some have sold everything in their stores tax-free.

An all-inclusive list of school supplies, a list of exempt clothing and footwear items, guidelines for shoppers and retailers, and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the Department’s Sales Tax Holiday Information Center at www.tax.virginia.gov.

Virginia’s other two sales tax holidays are for hurricane preparedness in May, and for energy-efficient appliances and water-saving items in October.