The annual Texas Sales Tax Holiday is set for this coming weekend, from Friday, Aug. 7 through midnight on Sunday, Aug. 9.
The sales tax exemption applies to most all clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks purchased either in Texas stores or from stores that do business in Texas while shopping online or over the phone, provided that any individual item is sold for $100 or less.
“We are getting a number of calls from people wondering if it is even happening this year [because of the pandemic]. Yes, it is,” said Chris Bryan, Director of Communication and Information Services for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Bryan stressed that the tax-free weekend is part of state law and noted the ever-increasing list of items that qualify for the tax-free benefit should look familiar despite the current, unfamiliar times.
“Parents this time of year get those back to school lists. They are still going to need new pairs of blue jeans, new pairs of tennis shoes. They are still going to need backpacks, and pencils, and school supplies, and the things that, really, regardless of where you are learning, kids and families are still going to need this year,” Bryan said.
The Texas Comptroller’s office is officially recommending that Texans take advantage of online shopping this year, in the effort to promote social distancing.
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Increasingly, major retailers are pivoting to help accommodate the interest in social distancing by expanding the list of items that are available for curbside pickup.
Martin Lopez, the manager of a Walmart in northern Dallas, noted that his store has already seen a spike in traditional school supplies being purchased online and meant for pickup.
“It’s all about how the customer and the retailer adapt to this at the end of the day,” Lopez said. “We still [have to] move forward, and it’s about how we are going to get along with one another between their shopping experience and what kind of experience we can provide for them.”
Two items that will likely prove to be popular this year for ‘Back to School’ shopping that are specifically not covered under the tax-free holiday are personal protective equipment (PPE) items like masks and face shields, and furniture like chairs and desks meant for at-home learning.