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Weekly Address — August 1, 2019

From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our great nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.

Every year, the first weekend of August is a tax holiday, when retailers do not collect sales taxes on a wide variety of clothes and back-to-school items.

It’s commonly referred to as the Back-to-School sales tax holiday, because when the legislature established it in 2011, we wanted to help families with kids.

But please don’t let that fool you. Everyone qualifies, no matter how old you are and whether or not you have children in school.

The sales tax holiday begins at midnight on Saturday, August 4th and finishes at midnight on Sunday, August 5th. In other words, it lasts all day Saturday and all day Sunday, the 4th and 5th of August.

Clothing and shoes are exempt from state and local sales taxes if they cost less than $100 per item.

For example, if you buy a shirt for $25, a pair of pants for $25 and a pair of shoes for $125, you only pay sales tax on the shoes.

The definition of clothing is broad, and includes aprons, beach wear, diapers and disposable diapers, socks, slippers, sandals and neckties. Hats and gloves

It does not include masks, or protective equipment such as hard hats and helmets. Also, it does not include athletic gear, such as shin guards and shoulder pads.

Accessories and school equipment, if they cost less than $50 per item, also will be free of sales taxes.

Again, the definition of eligible accessories is very broad, and includes jewelry, handbags, cosmetics, wigs and hair pieces, watches and hair notions like bows and barrettes.

The list of tax exempt school supplies is also wide ranging. Paper, pencils and notebooks are tax free, of course, but the list of exempt items also includes art supplies, lunch boxes and calculators.

The tax holiday applies to local sales taxes as well. The state rate is 6.5 percent, while local option sales taxes for cities and counties generally range from one to three percent.

That means the discount on clothes and school supplies can be as much as 10 percent on the weekend of August 4th and 5th.

From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.


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