By Gary Dinges, American-Statesman Staff
Texans are expected to save $90.3 million dollars during this year’s back-to-school tax-free weekend, according to the state comptroller’s office.
From Friday August 10th- Sunday, August 12th shoppers won’t pay state or local sales tax on most clothing and school supplies. In most Texas communities, that works out to a savings of 8.25 cents for each dollar spent.
In addition to not having to pay taxes, many retailers are holding sales this weekend, increasing the potential savings for cost-conscious parents – and students shopping for themselves.
Before you hit the stores, here are 5 things you need to know:
What you’ll spend. The National Retail Federation estimates the average family with children in elementary through high school will spend $684.79 on back-to-school necessities this year, while college students (or their parents) will spend, on average, $942.17. Both figures are down slightly from last year. Combined, the National Retail Federation says spending will reach $82.8 billion.
Not everything is included. Only eligible school supplies and clothing priced at under $100 each are tax free. (See a full list at texastaxholiday.org.) You’ll still pay taxes on big-ticket items such as computers.
Extended hours. Most Central Texas shopping centers, as well as standalone big-box retailers such as Kohl’s, are adjusting their hours this weekend.
Shop early, shop late. Take advantage of those extended hours to avoid the crowds. Midday is the busiest time, retailers say, so plan on going first thing in the morning or late at night if you want some breathing room.
Head online. The tax holiday, which got its start in 1999, isn’t limited to brick-and-mortar shops. Online retailers shouldn’t be collecting sales tax on eligible items this weekend, either, according to the state.