Back-to-school supplies tax free this weekend

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Students returned to class at Providence Classical School Monday. (Courtesy Providence Classical School)
Students on the first day of class at Providence Classical School (File photo)

Attention shoppers! Virginia is offering a sales tax holiday from Aug. 5-7 on qualifying school supplies, clothing and footwear, emergency preparedness items, and certain energy-efficient products.

According to a news release from Governor Terry McAuliffe, the three day exemption from state and local sales tax was created to financially assist families during back-to-school shopping and encourage Virginians to take necessary precautions during hurricane season.

“This sales tax holiday will make items that help families prepare for the school year or for a potential emergency more affordable,” McAuliffe said in the release. “It is my hope that shoppers will use this time to get their children the items they need to succeed in school, as well as stock up on the essentials that may come in handy during a hurricane or other emergency where electricity or clean water may be unavailable for an extended period of time.”

Tax exempt items include:

  • Most school and office supplies, such as pens, loose-leaf paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, and construction paper, priced at $20 or less.
  • Clothing and footwear, priced at $100 or less per item or pair.
  • Batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, fire extinguishers, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors, buckets, rope, and first aid kits, priced at $60 or less.
  • Gas-powered chainsaws, priced at $350 or less, and chainsaw accessories, priced at $60 or less.
  • Portable generators, priced at $1,000 or less.
  • Energy Star-labeled dishwashers, washing machines, air conditioners, ceiling fans, light bulbs, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators, priced at $2,500 or less.
  • WaterSense-labeled sink faucets, faucet accessories, aerators, shower heads, toilets, urinals, and landscape irrigation controllers, priced at $2,500 or less.

According to the release, all retailers who sell the exempt products are required to participate in the sales tax holiday. In addition, retailers may choose to pay the sales tax on any taxable items and pass the savings on to customers. Online purchases of qualifying products are exempt from sales tax as long as orders are placed and paid for between Aug. 5-7.

“This tax-free weekend is integrally important in ensuring all students and families have the tools and resources they need to be able to thrive and prosper here in Virginia,” said McAuliffe.

For more details about the holiday, visit the Virginia Department of Taxation’s website at www.tax.virginia.gov/salestaxholiday.