Tuesday, August 02, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Sales tax holiday

Editor’s note: State Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) reminds residents of the annual Back to School sales tax holiday this weekend, when many items will be more affordable than usual.

Arkansas will hold its annual sales-tax holiday on Saturday and Sunday.

The legislature created the sales-tax holiday in 2011 to help families with children in school.

It’s commonly known as the Back to School sales tax holiday, but everyone benefits from the holiday, whether or not they have children of school age.

Clothing and footwear less than $100 per item will qualify for the exemption. Keep in mind that if you buy an item that costs more than $100 you must pay the state and local sales taxes on the entire amount.

Here’s an example provided by the Department of Finance and Administration: A person buys two shirts for $50 each, a pair of jeans for $75 and a pair of shoes for $125. 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 will be collected because each item cost less than $100.

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

School supplies also qualify: Binders, book bags, calculators, tape, paper, pencils, scissors, notebooks, folders, glue, textbooks, reference books, maps, globes and workbooks and art supplies.

Bathing suits and beachwear will be exempt as long as they cost less than $100 each.

Diapers will not be taxed, nor will boots, steel-toed boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals.

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 be taxed.

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

The sales-tax holiday is always on the first weekend of August every year. All retail stores are required to participate and may not legally collect any state or local sales taxes on qualified items during the tax holiday.