Attention, Savers: Take Advantage of Texas’ Tax-Free Weekend

By Jessica Bivins, August 10, 2017, Family, Save Money

Mark your calendar for the weekend of Aug. 11-13, and do your warm-ups, because it’s time to do some back-to-school power shopping!

According to the Texas Comptroller’s Office, the sales tax holiday applies to anyone who shops over these four days in the great state of Texas. That means shoppers get a break from paying sales and use tax on most clothing items, shoes, school supplies and backpacks, just as long as individual items are priced at less than $100.

Whether you choose to shop for these items at traditional brick-and-mortar stores, or to avoid the crowds with the ease of online shopping, sales and local taxes won’t add to your total. If you don’t have enough cash to buy everything on your list in a single weekend, the good news is that you can put the items in layaway tax free.

Attention, Savers: Take advantage of Texas' Tax-Free Weekend | Bounce Energy Blog

How much can you save?

To answer that question, let’s look at how much sales tax we pay in Texas. State sales tax is set at 6.25 percent of every dollar spent. But cities, counties and other jurisdictions can also assess a local sales tax up to 2 percent.

Of course, your total savings will depend on how much you spend on qualifying items. One benchmark to look at is the annual Deloitte survey that tracks and forecasts back-to-school shopping. For 2017, Deloitte predicts that the average household will spend $501 on back-to-school shopping. This year families are expected to spend less on school supplies and tech gear and shift those dollars to clothing.

With a maximum savings of $8.25 per $100 spent, a tax-free weekend of back-to-school shopping in Texas can potentially rack up $41.35 in savings. With that kind of money, you could buy a lot of pens and pencils!

Attention, Savers: Take advantage of Texas' Tax-Free Weekend | Bounce Energy Blog

Getting ready to shop

As a budget conscious parent, you’ll want to take full advantage of this tax holiday. Before you start shopping, get to know the ins and outs of the Tax Free Holiday. Here are some pro tips when it comes to a successful tax-holiday shopping spree:

1. Make a shopping list: Contact your child’s school (or visit their website) and print a copy of the supplies your child needs. Then, do an inventory of your child’s clothing and supplies and see what needs replacing and what can last another school year. Having a list and sticking to it can keep you from wasting money on impulse purchases.

2. Compare prices: Many, but not all, stores will want to draw crowds and slash prices, so do some price checking ahead of time. Along with that, check online for coupons or extra discounts so you can really pile on the savings!

Attention, Savers: Take advantage of Texas' Tax-Free Weekend | Bounce Energy Blog

3. Shop online: If you want to avoid the crowds, you can still take advantage of the holiday if you do your shopping online. If the site ends up charging you sales tax, you can submit a special form to the state to get reimbursed. Just visit the FAQ section of the Texas Comptroller website, click on the question, “Do all sellers located in Texas have to participate in this event?” and download a PDF that you can print, fill out and mail in to the comptroller along with a copy of your invoice.

4. Know your limits: You can buy as many clothing items as you like, as long as the individual items come to $100 or less (including shipping costs).

5. Knowledge is power: Be sure to review the lists of exempt items on the Texas Comptroller site so you aren’t disappointed when you check out. Here’s a sample of exempt clothing items that might surprise you:

  • Diapers for babies and adults
  • Baby clothing
  • Pajamas, including robes and slippers
  • Kitchen aprons
  • Hiking boots
  • Cowboy boots
  • Vests for hunting and fishing
  • Tennis skirts
  • Graduation caps and gowns
  • Leotards
  • Costume masks
  • Religious clothing

We love our kids, but they can cost a bundle! With smart strategies for back-to-school shopping, you can get it done for fewer dollars.

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