This weekend (Aug. 8-10), moms fighting for the last three pack of highlighters may be the usual once-a-year event, but it does fall under the list of items that qualify for the tax-free savings, as do most school supplies.
The usual school supplies, like binders, backpacks, pencils, fall under the tax-free list.
H-E-B is a place many head for school supplies. In years past, they haven’t run out of supplies, but it has been close, said Unit Director Shelia Poorman.
“It’s probably our biggest weekend for sure,” Poorman said. “People take advantage of not having to pay tax on school supplies and also apparel, footwear, backpacks, even the baby department. It’s our busiest weekend, but we are pretty busy every weekend up until school in that particular area of the store. But it spikes during that weekend.”
However, things start to get tricky with other items that qualify.
Most clothing, which includes T-shirts, jeans, dresses and jackets, would be tax free. However, clothing accessories, including purses, watches and jewelry, would not qualify.
While most shoes, like sneakers and cowboy boots, qualify, athletic-specific shoes, like football cleats, would not.
Also, while they may qualify in other states like Alabama and Georgia, computers and tablets do not qualify as tax free.
However, across all items over the sales tax holiday weekend, there’s a $100 rule that is applied. Each item must be under $100 to qualify. So, two shirts worth $60 each, totaling $120 would qualify, but a shirt that is $105 does not.
Take note when discounts and coupons are being applied. When they are applied on items over $100, making the cost less than $100, they qualify as tax-free.
Stores also like to drum up sales by advertising in big, bold letters “Buy one, get one free” or “Buy one, get one half off.” The $100 rule still applies, even though you would be purchasing two items, unless that second item becomes less than $100, which would then make it qualify.
Mirella Escamilla Davis, a mother of two, enjoys the concept of Tax Free Weekend, but feels that it’s a hassle trying to shop with massive crowds.
“Very busy, very hectic, too many people,” Davis said. “Maybe I just don’t take stress very well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good intent. It’s just not for me individually.”
Davis went shopping on Wednesday with her children because the stores were well stocked, and so she wouldn’t have to deal with the angry mob.
“I’ve done it twice, and it’s been very hectic for me and with two kids and ‘I need this; I need that’, and they get tired, and you’re trying to save a buck here with the taxes,” Davis said. “We’ll just do it on our own, after work, after hours.
“I can handle that.”
Overall, you would be saving just a little over $8 for every $100 that you spend.
Is it worth it to put on some elbow pads and go up against a mob of people hungry for savings?
That’s for you to decide, and Poorman has a tip that may help you if you do scavenge for supplies this weekend.
“Come early and have your list,” Poorman said. We have the school supply list right in front of the lobby right when you walk in. So, you grab that list and follow that.”
Mackey Torres is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5219, or at regional@mySouTex.com.