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State sales tax-free weekend coming

Arkansas families getting ready for the new school year get a break this weekend with the state sales tax waived on many items. District 35 state Senator Eddie Joe Williams of Cabot said he would be among the shoppers taking advantage of the Aug. 2-3 sales tax holiday to buy clothes and school supplies for his family, “My children are grown, but I plan to take advantage of the tax holiday to get clothes and school supplies for my grandkids.”

The sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m., Saturday Aug. 2, and ends 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 3., and covers certain school supplies, school art supplies, school instructional materials, and clothing free of state and local sales or use tax. All retailers are required to participate.

Although Act 757, commonly known as the “Back to School” sales tax break, was created by the 2011 legislature to help families with children in school, it is not limited to those families. “You don’t have to have kids in school to benefit,” Williams said. “Basically, it is a weekend on which sales of clothes, accessories and school supplies are exempt from state and local sales taxes.”

“The list of items that will be exempt from the sales tax is pretty impressive,” Williams said. Not paying the 6.5 percent sales tax will definitely make a difference at the cash register, he said.

Clothing and footwear that cost less than $100 per item will qualify for the exemption. Items costing more than $100 would have sales tax calculated on the full price of the item, Williams said.

The state Department of Finance and Administration gave an example of two clothing items for $50 each, school equipment at $75 and a pair of shoes for $125 – the sales tax would be charged on the shoes but not the other items because the individual items cost less than $100.

Accessories such as wallets, watches, jewelry and sunglasses that cost less than $50 qualify for the exemption.

Williams said the list of exempt items is extensive, even including bathing suits and beach wear, diapers and disposable diapers, boots - including steel toed boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals. Also, there is no limit on the number of exempt items, he said

Computers, software and computer equipment are not exempt. “You will have to pay sales taxes if you purchase those items on the holiday,” he said.

See inside for complete list.

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