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Weekly Address – July 31, 2020

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

Arkansas is holding its annual sales tax holiday this upcoming weekend, on Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2.

No matter where you shop, you won’t have to pay any state or local sales tax on clothing and footwear that cost less than $100 per item.

However, if you buy an item of clothing or a pair of shoes that costs more than $100 you must pay the sales tax on the entire amount.

You don’t have to pay sales tax on accessories that cost less than $50. This includes items such as wallets, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, handbags, cosmetics, briefcases, hair notions, wigs and hair pieces.

Here’s an example of how it works – let’s say you buy 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, because they cost more than $100.

Even though the price of the shirts and the jeans added up to $175, you don’t have to pay sales tax on them because each individual item cost less than $100.

School supplies qualify for the sales tax exemption. That’s why it’s often referred to as the “Back to School” tax holiday, because items such as binders, book bags, calculators, tape, paper, pencils, scissors, notebooks, folders and glue are all sales tax free.

Also, textbooks, reference books, maps, globes and workbooks will be exempt from sales taxes. No sales taxes will be collected on art supplies needed for art class, such as clay and glazes, paint, brushes and drawing pads.

But you don’t have to have kids in school in order to qualify. Everyone gets the sales tax exemption this weekend. Even bathing suits and beach wear will be exempt as long as they cost less than $100 per item.

Diapers and disposable diapers will not be taxed. Boots, including steel-toed boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals will be exempt from the sales tax as well.

Here are some items that are not exempt from the sales tax -- 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 not exempt and you will have to pay sales taxes if you purchase those items on the holiday.

Under state law enacted in 2011, the sales tax holiday happens every year on the first weekend of August. 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.

One of our goals was to help families with children in school, which is why it is commonly known as the “Back to School” sales tax holiday. But keep in mind that everyone benefits from the holiday, whether or not they have children in school.

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


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