LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas families hoping to save money on back-to-school expenses can look to the annual August sales tax holiday weekend.
From 12:01 a.m. Aug. 5 until 11:59 p.m. Aug. 6, no state or local taxes will be charged at the register on certain items needed by students heading back to class. This applies to purchases made online or in person.
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration spokesperson Scott Hardin pointed out that online purchases must be delivered to an Arkansas address to qualify.
“If it is purchased online between Aug. 5 to 6 and the destination is in Arkansas, it will be tax-free,” Hardin said, adding that the delivery date can be outside the Aug. 5 and 6 dates.
There are many categories of items that fall under the tax-free holiday, but two categories have per-item price limits. Clothing for back-to-school is tax-free as long as the individual item is $100 or less. Clothing accessories like watches, handbags or jewelry are tax-free if they cost $50 or less.
Anything priced over the limits for these two categories will be taxed on the full value of the item, not just the amount over the limit.
Other categories without item price limits include school instruction materials, school classroom or art supplies and certain electronics.
The school supplies category is fairly broad, extending to backpacks, paper, binders, notepaper, pencils, rulers and similar items.
Electronics were added to tax-free weekend a couple of years ago. This includes calculators, desktop & laptop computers, computer accessories like printers or monitors, tablets, e-readers and even cell phones, though video games and gaming systems would still be taxed.
“We really encourage Arkansans to take a look at the list of qualified items as they may be surprised,” Hardin said. “This is not limited to backpacks, pencils and lunch boxes.”
Some of the items Hardin noted that shoppers may be surprised to find on the no-tax list included costumes, watches, wigs and hair pieces, cosmetics, diapers and sunglasses. He believes picking up some of these items during the tax-free holiday could offer families big savings.
“For example, a family that will be purchasing diapers over the next few months may want to stock up on tax-free weekend,” Hardin said. “This is a great opportunity for Arkansans to save money on a wide variety of items.”
Even though there are lots of things to save on during the weekend, there are still some items that will remain taxable. Some of those include sewing supplies, protective equipment and sports equipment. A full list is available on the DFA website.
Arkansas Legislature Act 757 put the sales tax holiday in place beginning in 2011.