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Special section Save on back-to-school shopping

Find out if your state offers tax breaks on back-to-school shopping and what the rules are for the discount.

2009 tax holiday schedule

2009 sales tax holiday schedule
 

Texas

  • Tax holiday dates: Aug. 21 to Aug. 23
  • General exempt items: Most clothing and footwear priced less than $100 will be tax-exempt this weekend. The break applies to items individually, not a shopper's total purchase amount. That means a customer escapes the state's combined local and state sales tax, which could be as high as 8.25 percent, on each of a dozen shirts each priced at $99.99. But the full tax is due on a shirt that sells for $100. And new this year, Lone Star State shoppers will get a sales tax break on most school supplies purchased for use by elementary or secondary school studnets as long as the items cost than $100.
  • Notable exceptions: Despite the sports fanaticism of Lone Star State residents, only football and baseball jerseys are tax-exempt. Other associated items (pads, helmets, mitts, cleats, etc.) remain taxable, as do most other clothing and footwear used primarily for athletic activities or protection. Accessories such as jewelry, watches and handbags also are excluded from the sales tax holiday.

More information is available on the Texas' sales tax holiday Web site.

Virginia

  • Tax holiday dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
  • General exempt items: Shoppers in the Old Dominion State will get a break on school supplies that cost $20 or less per item and on clothing and shoes priced at $100 or less per item. Internet purchases also will be tax-exempt if the item is delivered and paid for during the exemption period or the customer orders and pays for the item and the seller accepts the order during the holiday period for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the tax holiday. The state will hold a second sales tax holiday Oct. 9 to Oct. 12 for energy-efficient products priced at $2,500 or less.
  • Notable exceptions: Sport and recreational equipment is not tax-exempt. Neither are apparel accessories such as handbags, briefcases and jewelry. Businesses may choose to pay the tax on nonexempt items for their customers and advertise those items as tax-free.

More information is available on Virginia's sales tax holiday Web site.

West Virginia

  • Tax holiday dates: Sept. 1 to Nov. 30
  • General exempt items: This year the sales tax holiday for Mountain State shoppers is bigger than ever. The event isn't tied to back-to-school supplies. Rather, the state is waiving its 6 percent sales tax on certain Energy Star qualified products and shoppers now have three months to buy the tax-free upgrades. The energy-efficient appliances must cost $5,000 or less and be for home, not commercial, use.
  • Notable exceptions: Shipping and handling charges separately stated on the appliance bill or purchase invoice are taxable. However, those added charges do not count toward the $5,000 maximum item cost.

More information is available on West Virginia's sales tax holiday Web site.

Are sales tax holidays a good idea? See "Sales tax holidays offer shopping bargains" for a look at the pros and cons of these temporary tax exemptions.

-- Updated: July 21, 2009
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