Tax-Free Shopping? Not Until August

By Greg Janda
|  Wednesday, Apr 7, 2010  |  Updated 11:00 AM CDT
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Tax-Free Shopping? Not Until August

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Some retailers are using "tax-free" promotions months before the official tax holiday.

It seemed like an April Fool's prank, or maybe just mix-up when we heard about Kohls offering "tax-free" shopping from April 1-3. But through a little digging -- and seeing some other retailers' promotions -- we're here to clear the air about "tax-free" shopping.

Texas' official "tax-free weekend" for 2010 will by August 20-22, when shoppers will be able to buy items like clothing and footwear under $100 tax-free. In addition, school supplies will now be tax-free during that same weekend including binders, book bags, lunch boxes, and more. Find a full list of approved items here.

But that doesn't explain how retailers like Kohls, Freed's Furniture, or J.C. Penney are offering "tax-free" shopping now. In what's surely a promotion to play off the April 15 tax deadline, retailers are offering a discount off your items equal to what the total tax would be, then taking those discounted funds and paying the sales taxes. In effect, you're getting roughly an eight percent discount, depending on the city's tax rate.

That discount can still amount to a good deal off big ticket items; one of our NBC DFW news producers got nearly $100 off a patio dining set during J.C. Penney's "tax-free" deal last weekend.

Found a retailer using the "tax-free" promotion? Tell us about it in the comments fields below.

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