Texans: Mark your calendar. You can shop tax-free for clothes, school supplies Aug. 9-11

Tax-free weekend has been saving Texans money since 1999

Save a few bucks during back-to-school shopping this year. And the state of Texas plans to help — at least a little.
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Save a few bucks during back-to-school shopping this year. And the state of Texas plans to help — at least a little.

It’s that time of year again.

Time to get ready for kids to go back to school.

But it’s also the time of year in Texas when most clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies costing less than $100 are tax free.

This once-a-year holiday runs Friday though Sunday. Shoppers should save about $8 on every $100 they spend.

“The sales tax holiday can be a great way to save, if the shopper is smart about it,” said Daniel Rajaratnam, a marketing professor at The University of Texas at Dallas.

But he said shoppers need to figure out what the best deal is.

“Because most stores will not feature any sales or additional discounts during tax-free weekend, it might be smarter to wait on certain purchases until the store has a big sale,” he said. “Tax-free weekend saves you 8.25 percent in Texas, but if you’re needing several pairs of jeans, and there’s a 30% off sale the next week, that’s a much better idea.”

This year, families with school children are expected to spend more than ever on back to school shopping, an average of $696.70, up from $684.79 in 2018, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

That same survey showed families with college students are expected to spend $976.78, up from last year’s $942.17.

A full list of items that qualify for the sales-tax free purchases can be found online at the Texas Comptroller’s website, TexasTaxHoliday.org.

This is an annual sales tax holiday in Texas. It began in 1999.

Clothes and more

Overall, shoppers are expected to save about $102 million in state and local sales taxes, according to Texas Comptroller data.

That’s up from last year, when they saved $90.6 million, and 2017, when they saved $87 million.

Other items that will be tax free include adult or baby diapers, aprons, baseball caps and jerseys, cowboy boots, hiking boots, ties, bowling shirts, work uniforms, workout clothes, swimsuits, sweat suits, pajamas, clerical vestments and suits.

Computers, computer bags, textbooks, athletic bags, briefcases and other luggage will not be tax free.

But if you have any items on layaway that qualify to be tax free, and make the last payment this weekend, you’ll get it tax-free, according to the comptroller’s office.

Tax holiday tips

Rajaratnam suggests there are ways shoppers can get the biggest bang for their buck when shopping this weekend.

Know what you need to buy before you ever leave home.

Make a list and stick to it. But if you find a good deal on anything — from notebooks to jeans — then stock up.

Shop early or late in the day, because the middle of the day is when stores are the most crowded.

Do your research before shopping. See which stores are offering the best deals and take any coupons you have.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.