Tax Free Weekend Set in Arkansas

Thursday, July 30, 2015
This scene from the first day of school at Piggott Elementary School last year will be played out again in the coming weeks, as students return to classes following summer vacation. This weekend parents will have the opportunity to make purchases for back-to-school needs without paying state sales tax, as the annual tax free weekend is observed in Arkansas.(file photo)

The State of Arkansas will hold its annual sales tax holiday this weekend, with exemptions on many items offered on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 1 and 2.

The legislature created the sales tax holiday in 2011 with the approval of Act 757. When passed, the intent of the act was to help families with children in school, and is commonly known as the "Back to School" sales tax holiday. However, everyone may actually benefit from the holiday, whether or not they have children of school age. The following is an overview of the items which are exempt and those which do not qualify.

Clothing and footwear that cost less than $100 per item will qualify, but consumers should keep in mind if they buy an item which costs more than $100 they must pay the state and local sales taxes on the entire amount.

In an example provided by the Department of Finance and Administration, if a person buys two shirts for $50 each, a pair of jeans for $75 and a pair of shoes for $125. Under this scenario, the sales tax will only be collected on the shoes.

Even though the total price of the shirts and the jeans added up to $175, no sales tax would be collected on them because each individual item cost less than $100.

Accessories costing less than $50 qualify for the exemption and include wallets, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, handbags, cosmetics, briefcases, hair notions, wigs and hair pieces.

Of course, school supplies also qualify, including binders, book bags, calculators, tape, paper, pencils, scissors, notebooks, folders and glue.

Textbooks, reference books, maps, globes and workbooks will also be exempt from sales taxes as will art supplies needed for art class, such as clay and glazes, paint, brushes and drawing pads.

In fact, bathing suits and beach wear will be exempt as long as they cost less than $100 per item. Diapers and disposable diapers will also not be taxed and boots and other footwear, including steel toed boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals will be exempt from the sales tax as well.

Some of the things not exempt from the sales tax are sporting goods, such as cleats and spikes worn by baseball, soccer and football players. Recreational items such as skates, shoulder pads, shin guards and ski boots will also be taxed. Plus, computers, software and computer equipment are not exempt and consumers will have to pay sales taxes on them as usual if those items are purchased on the holiday.

Under the guidelines of Act 757, the sales tax holiday is always held on the first weekend of August. It also stipulates all retail stores in the state of Arkansas are required to participate and may not legally collect any state or local sales taxes on qualified items during the tax holiday.

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