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Take advantage of tax-free shopping this weekend

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Parents, students can save big on back- toschool necessities, even if COVID- 19 keeps school campuses closed

[email protected] Heads up students, parents of students, teachers and everyone else in the state!

Schools will be starting back before you know it, and while no one is exactly sure what that will look like due to coronavirus concerns, Arkansas will still be holding its annual back-to-school sales tax holiday this weekend on Saturday, Aug. 1, and Sunday, Aug. 2.

Clothing and footwear that cost less than $100 per item will qualify for the exemption. However, if you buy an item that costs more than $100 you must pay the state and local sales taxes on the entire amount.

Accessories costing less than $50 qualify for the exemption.

Examples include wallets, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, handbags, cosmetics, briefcases, hair notions, wigs and hair pieces.

Here’s an example provided by the Department of Finance and Administration: a person buys two shirts for $50 each, a pair of jeans for $75 and a pair of shoes for $125. The sales tax will only be collected on the shoes.

Even though the total price of the shirts and the jeans added up to $175, no sales tax will be collected on them because each individual item cost less than $100.

School supplies also qualify, including binders, book bags, calculators, tape, paper, pencils, scissors, notebooks, folders and glue.

Textbooks, reference books, maps, globes and workbooks will be exempt from sales taxes. Also exempt from the sales tax will be art supplies needed for art class, such as clay and glazes, paint, brushes and drawing pads. Bathing suits and beach wear will be exempt as long as they cost less than $100 per item. Diapers and disposable diapers will not be taxed. Boots, including steel-toed boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals will be exempt from the sales tax as well.

Not exempt from the sales tax are sporting goods, such as cleats and spikes worn by baseball, soccer and football players.

Recreational items such as skates, shoulder pads, shin guards and ski boots will be taxed.

Computers, software and computer equipment are not exempt and you will have to pay sales taxes if

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you purchase those items on the holiday.

Act 757 provides that the sales tax holiday will be the first weekend of August every year.

All retail stores are required to participate and may not legally collect any state or local sales taxes on qualified items during the tax holiday.

The legislature created the sales tax holiday by approving Act 757 of 2011. One of the goals of the act is to help families with children in school, which is why it is commonly known as the “Back to School” sales tax holiday.

However, everyone benefits from the holiday, whether or not they have children in school. A list of all eligible tax-free items can be found online. Go to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration’s web site (www.dfa.arkansas.gov) to find out more.

For those who are looking to expand their shopping options, Mississippi will also be holding its tax-free shopping holiday this weekend, only with Friday, July 31 and Saturday, Aug.

1 being the days to save on sales tax on approved items in that state. Additionally, Tennessee will hold its taxfree shopping holiday the net weekend, on Friday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 9.

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