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Back-to-School tax holiday this weekend


Back-to-School tax holiday this weekend

Parents, students can save on clothing, supplies & more Back in 2011, the Arkansas State Legislature approved an annual statewide sales tax holiday for the first weekend in August, just in time for back-to-school shopping.

This weekend, buy any items from the approved list and pay no sales tax.

While the tax holiday is on only on certain items, virtually anything students might need for the upcoming school year is eligible: School supplies, art supplies, clothing, shoes and other back-toschool shopping items are all tax free during the holiday, just ahead of the start of another school year. Marion and West Memphis students report to class on Monday, Aug.

15, for the first day of the 2016-2017 academic year. Kids in Earle will get a couple of extra days of summer break, going back on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Arkansas’ 2016 tax holiday will be Saturday Aug.

6 and Sunday Aug. 7. The Arkansas Tax Free Weekend applies to clothing and footwear of all sizes priced at less than $100 per item, certain clothing accessories priced at less than $50 per item and most school supplies. shopping expert Jennifer Wolf offers some tips for getting the most out of the opportunity.

“Being a sensible shopper is the best way to save even more during tax-free weekend,” says Wolf.

“For example, comparing prices at several different stores, which you can do online, and plan on using coupons when you can.”

Wolf also says to only get what kids need. Most schools have supply lists available either at the school or at local retailers. “Don't buy anything you don't really need, she says. “Since the regular sales tax rate in Arkansas is 6.5 percent (plus applicable local taxes), that's the amount of money you'll save by shopping during the sales tax holiday. You might find that you can actually save more money by shopping at competitive sales either before or after the tax-free event, along with using coupons or taking advantage of special promotions.”

Some items will still be taxed during the tax holiday. For example, many school-related sporting goods are not tax-exempt, such as ballet shoes, shoulder pads and cleats.

A complete list of tax-free eligible items can be found at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration's Web site at http://www.dfa.arkansas.g ov/offices/exciseTax/salesanduse/ Documents/holidayItemized. pdf.

Tennessee's tax holiday was this past weekend, as was Mississippi’s, leaving shopping locally, or at least in-state, as the best bargain for back-to-school shoppers getting ready for the new school year.

Many states have initiated the sales-tax holidays with the hope of sparking the local economy and giving working families help with the expense of back-to-school shopping.

In 2015, a total of 17 states will held tax-exempt weekend events, including Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

By Ralph Hardin

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