Tax-free weekend kicks off at midnight Saturday

By: 
Dana Guthrie
Staff Writer

Arkansas shoppers and retailers are gearing up for the tax-free shopping days this coming weekend.

The annual event is scheduled to begin at midnight Sat. Aug. 4 and continues through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5. Many shoppers will want to take advantage of the tax-free status of back-to-school items, such as clothing and school supplies.

All retailers are required to participate and must not charge tax on any items that are listed as tax-exempt during the holiday. Both state and local sales tax will not be collected on qualifying purchases throughout the 48-hour period.

Clothing and footwear items that retail for less than $100 per item will be tax-exempt. According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, clothing is defined as “all human wearing apparel suitable for general use.”

There are several items that shoppers may not realize qualify under the guidelines. Some of the lesser known items include diapers (including disposable), bathing suits, formal wear, lab coats, rainwear, wedding apparel, belts, earmuffs, baby receiving blankets, hosiery and hats.

Items such as athletic supporters, coats, jackets, costumes, boots, girdles, insoles, sneakers, shoes, shoe laces, scarves, sandals, rubber pants, socks, uniforms (both athletic and nonathletic) and neckties are also tax free.

Accessory items under $50 per item are also tax free. Some examples include briefcases, cosmetics, handbags, jewelry, nonprescription sunglasses, umbrellas, wallets, watches, wigs and hair pieces. Hair notions including barrettes, bows, and hair nets will also be tax free

Parents and guardians of children getting ready to go back to school will want to take advantage of the tax free status of nearly all types of school supplies. The ADF states that school supplies are designated as “any item commonly used by a student in a course of study.”
Items include binders, book bags, calculators, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, highlighters, index cards, lunch boxes, pencil boxes, protractors, pencils, pens, rulers, scissors and writing tablets.

Additionally, cellophane tape, blackboard chalk, composition books, compasses, legal pads, markers and pencil sharpeners will also be tax free.

Paper, including loose-leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paperer, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board and construction paper will be tax-exempt.

Tax-exempt school art supplies are restricted to clay and glazes, paints (acrylic, tempora and oil), paintbrushes for artwork, sketch and drawing pads and watercolors.
School Instructional Materials are also restricted to reference books, reference maps and globes, textbooks and workbooks.

For an itemized list of all items eligible for tax-exempt status, visit www.dfa.arkansas.gov and search for sales tax holiday.

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