The state of Texas is offering one tax-free weekend events during 2017. According to the Texas Comptroller's Office:
This year’s Sales Tax Holiday is Aug. 11-13. As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced less than $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.
The holiday theoretically applies only to "back to school" items, but the list of exempted items is huge.
It's also rather confusing; for example, football jerseys are tax exempt -- but football pads are not!
How to Shop the Texas Tax-Free Weekend
Start by carefully reviewing the rather complex set of rules and exemptions that you'll find on the Comptroller's Office site. What you'll discover is surprising -- and may be very helpful depending on how you shop. Here are some key things to know:
- All retailers are required to participate in the tax-free weekend -- but not all retailers are required to provide a discount on site. Instead, they may charge you tax and then give you the paperwork needed to file for your refund. This is a hefty process, as it involves sending paperwork and a written request to the Comptroller's office with copies of your receipts. If you don't want to spend hours filing and weeks waiting for your refund, be sure the store where your shopping provides an on-site tax break.
- You can purchase items using layaway, but only "if the customer places the qualifying merchandise on layaway during the holiday or makes the final payment during the holiday." In other words, the tax holiday is a great time to place your purchase on layaway!
- You can buy a surprising range of tax-exempt items during the tax holiday, but you will be surprised by what is and what is not exempt. If you're a tennis player, for example, you're in luck -- all your tennis-related clothing is exempt. But hockey gloves are not exempt!
Here are just a few of the surprising items that are exempt and non-exempt:
- Cowboy boots
- Bowling shirts
- Chef Uniforms
- Adult and baby diapers
- Hunting vests
- Children's novelty costumes
- Sports helmets
- Sports pads
- Ski boots
Smart Shopping Strategies for Texas' Tax-Free Weekend
In general, using common sense is the best way to save even more during tax-free week. This means comparing prices at different stores, which you can do online, and also using coupons—in addition to the tax-free savings—whenever possible.
In addition, don't make the mistake of buying items that you don't need just because of the sales tax holiday. After all, the sales tax rate in Texas is up to 8.25% in some areas, so that's the amount you would be saving by shopping during the tax-free weekend. By comparing prices at different stores, which you can do online, and also using coupons, you might find that a fabulous pair of cowboy boots is actually cheaper the week before or the week after the tax-free weekend in Texas, so make sure you do your homework before spending your hard-earned cash.
Keep in mind, too, that not all general merchandise items are included in the sales tax holiday.
For example, cowboy boots and climbing boots are tax-free, but climbing boot and ski boots are still taxed during Texas' tax-free weekend. In fact, many sporting goods are not included in the sales tax holiday at all in Texas, like cleats, football pads, and protective helmets, so make sure that you read the list of qualifying clothing, footwear, and other items before heading out to the mall.
Where to Save Big During Texas' Tax-Free Weekend
Lots of people will flock to outlet centers during the tax holiday. But you should also consider local stores, which may run special promotions to coincide with the upcoming tax-free weekend. Keep in mind that quality matters, too. Getting a great deal on clothing that won't last isn't worth the savings.
Additional Tax-Free Shopping Resources
Use these resources to get even more out of your shopping excursion:
- More Ways to Save During Tax-Free Weekend
- Find a Tax Free Weekend in a State Near Texas
- Tax-Free Shopping Tips