2008-08-12 / Front Page

State's tax-free weekend to give shoppers a break

Texans can save about $8 for each $100 spent

The 10th annual sales tax holiday in Texas is scheduled Friday through Sunday. During the shopping weekend, most clothing, footwear and backpacks will be exempt from sales tax.

The state's tax-free holiday weekend is designed to give consumers a break on the clothes and shoes their children need to prepare for the return to school.

The event, previously set the first weekend in August, now is held the third weekend of the month. Since school districts are starting their school year later, the dates were moved to fall closer to the first day of school.

Shoppers also will be able to use layaway plans to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

Texas law limits the exemption, however. Tax still is due on athletic and protective clothing and footwear not normally used for daily wear.

In addition, sales tax is due on accessories, jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and similar items.

"Texans will once again take full advantage of this well-deserved tax break to make their dollars go further as they shop for a new school year," said Susan Combs, state comptroller. "Texans are expected to save about $8 for every $100 they spend."

This is a partial list of items that are taxed or tax-free for the Aug. 15-17 sales tax holiday weekend. A complete list can be found on the state comptroller's website at www.window.state.tx.us. The tax break is not limited to children's clothes. Most clothing and footwear priced under $100 is exempt, and consumers may purchase as many tax-exempt items as they wish.

"I predict the sales tax holiday will be one of the best yet, saving families about $54 million in state and local taxes," said Mrs. Combs.

During the previous holidays, shoppers saved approximately $150 million in sales tax, including an estimated $118 million in state sales tax and about $31 million in local sales taxes.

"The slowing economy means many families are spending a bit more cautiously these days," said the comptroller. "The sales tax holiday is an opportunity to make the dollars go further, and I expect Texans to take full advantage of it."

Since 1999, the clothing sales tax holiday has saved shoppers more than $388 million in state and local sales taxes.

Sales tax holidays are a win-win for Texans, Mrs. Combs added. Consumers save money, and it jump-starts sales revenue because people come from neighboring states and Mexico to spend their money in Texas, she said.

For more information on the tax holiday, consumers can check the comptroller's website at www.window. state.tx.us or phone the taxassistance hotline at (800) 252- 5555.

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