• November 25, 2014

Stores prepare for tax-free weekend

Holiday is Aug. 17-19

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Posted: Saturday, August 4, 2012 12:00 pm

Holiday is Aug. 17-19

By Kristi Parker Johnson

Killeen Daily Herald

Back-to-school shopping can put a dent in family finances, but the annual sales tax holiday Aug. 17-19 offers some relief from the financial burden.

"Shoppers across Texas can take advantage of the three-day sales tax holiday and save extra money for their budgets," Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said in a news release. "Families gearing up for the new school year would not pay any sales tax for many back-to-school items from clothing and footwear to school supplies during that weekend."

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.

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.

Lay-away plans can be used to purchase tax-free items that weekend.

Texas' sales tax holidays began in 1999 with shoes and clothing exempted, according to the comptroller's office. School supplies were added to the list in 2009.

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 is gearing 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."

JCPenny 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.

For lists of apparel and school supplies that can be purchased tax-free, go to www.TexasTaxHoliday.org.

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