By Kristi Parker Johnson
Harker Heights Herald
There are only 10 shopping days left until Harker Heights kids head back to school, but families who procrastinated on back-to-school shopping can save money this weekend thanks to the sales tax holiday that starts today and continues through Sunday.
Everything from pens, backpacks, jeans, boots and shoes to diapers and swimsuits are exempt from local and state sales tax during the holiday, as long as the item’s price is below $100. Shoppers save $8.25 on each $100 in eligible items purchased, according to Texas Comptroller Susan Combs.
While tax holidays are typically some of the busiest shopping days of the year, local retailers say they are ready for the crowds. Target in Harker Heights geared up by scheduling extra staff, according to store manager Katrino Garcia.
“That is quite a busy weekend, so like with any other increase in sales, we have extra staff scheduled,” Garcia said. “It’s a great time for customers to come in and shop, so we definitely ensure that we have the product out and available for them, especially their needs, which will be clothing and school supplies.”
JC Penney in Killeen also scheduled extra employees to work the holiday, store leader Julio Bunuelos said.
“Besides the Christmas period, this is our highest traffic event of the year, so we do increase staff for that.”
Bunuelos offered advice for shoppers who plan to take advantage of the tax-free holiday: The early bird gets the worm.
“If they come in early, that always helps, it’s always best when we first open the doors,” he said.
All sales of qualifying items made during the holiday qualify for the exemption, including items sold over the Internet, television or by mail, according to the state comptroller. Lay-away plans can be used to purchase tax-free items this weekend.
Most school supplies, clothes and footwear, including tennis shoes and jogging shoes, are eligible for the exemption, but athletic equipment such as cleats and football pads are not. Other non-exempt items include jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and similar items.
For complete lists of apparel and school supplies that can be purchased tax-free, go to www.TexasTaxHoliday.org.