Virginia's popular back-to-school sales tax holiday for clothing, footwear and school/office supplies begins Friday, Aug. 1, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 3.
This is the ninth year for the three-day event, during which most school supplies that cost $20 or less each, as well as clothing items and pairs of shoes priced at $100 or less each will be exempt from Virginia's 5.3 percent state and local sales tax. You'll save even more in most Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads localities, where the sales tax is 6 percent. For example, if you spend $500 on qualifying items during the sales tax holiday, you'll save $26.50 on exempt purchases. You'll save $30 in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
The list of tax-exempt items is the same as last year. It includes, for example, pens, pencils, loose leaf ruled notebook paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, construction paper, sneakers, hats, shirts, dresses, jeans, bathing suits, diapers, T-shirts, and many other items. There is no requirement that the purchases be made for school purposes. All retailers who sell the exempt items are required to participate.
The tax-exempt items are available to anyone shopping in the state, and there is no limit on the number of products you can buy tax-free as long as each one qualifies under the guidelines.
If you can't get out to the stores, but still want to shop and save, online purchases of qualifying items are also tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday.
During this sales tax holiday, retailers may also choose to save taxpayers even more money by absorbing, or paying themselves, the sales tax on items that are not eligible for exemption. In past years, many stores have taken advantage of this opportunity and some have sold everything in their stores tax-free.
An all-inclusive list of school supplies, a list of exempt clothing and footwear items, guidelines for shoppers and retailers, and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the Department of Taxation's Sales Tax Holiday Information Center.