Wednesday, August 1, 2012
By LEIGH PROM - Staff Writer
Virginia's fourth annual sales tax holiday for back-to-school shoppers begins Friday, Aug. 3 and goes through Sunday, Aug. 5.
On these three days, shoppers won't pay the state's 5-percent sales tax on school supplies priced at $20 or less per item or on clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less per item.
Under a law passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2006, a similar sales tax holiday is observed during the first Friday through Sunday of August of each year.
Under the law, if a piece of school clothing costs $100 or less, there will be no sales tax on it during the three days. If school supplies, such as a notebook, costs $20 or less, there will be no sales tax on them.
The law applies to coats, shoes, dresses, gloves and mittens for general use, gym suits and uniforms, hats and caps, jeans, belts and suspenders, boots, underwear, slacks, running shoes, shirts and more.
The school supplies include such items as binders, calculators, composition books, crayons, dictionaries, index cards, lunch boxes, pencils, notebook paper, book bags, workbooks, textbooks and paintbrushes for artwork.
But some products, including computers and sports equipment, will not be exempt from sales. Other items that are not exempt from the sales tax include printers for computers, printer paper, printer ink, handheld electronic schedulers and expensive calculators.
The Virginia Department of Taxation's website, http://1.usa.gov/12Tkz8, provides a detailed list of the items that qualify for the tax exemption.
In addition to saving money on taxes, Matt Hankins, assistant town manager and director of community development for Rocky Mount, said shopping locally would also save shoppers gas money from driving out of town.
"It's incredibly important for folks to shop locally," Hankins said. "It's a benefit to merchants and saves shoppers money on gas as well. Everybody wins."
Retailers may also choose to absorb the tax on other items during the holiday period, but they are responsible for paying the tax on those items to the Department of Taxation.