Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales taxes Aug. 21-23 – the state’s annual tax holiday. Layaway plans can be used again this year to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

New this year is the inclusion of school supplies as eligible purchases during the sales tax holiday.

The 81st Texas Legislature passed HB 1801, which expanded the list of items qualifying for exemption from state and local sales and use taxes during the annual sales tax holiday in August. Effective this year, in addition to clothes, footwear and some backpacks, Texas families also get a sales tax break on most school supplies priced at less than $100 purchased for use by a student in an elementary or secondary school.

As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.

Backpacks under $100 and used by elementary and secondary students are also exempt. A backpack is a pack with straps one wears on the back. The exemption during the sales tax holiday includes backpacks with wheels, provided they can also be worn on the back like a traditional backpack and messenger bags.

The exemption does not include items that are reasonably defined as luggage, briefcases, athletic/duffle/gym bags, computer bags, purses or framed backpacks. Ten or fewer backpacks can be purchased tax-free at one time without providing an exemption certificate to the seller.

The following is an all-inclusive list of qualifying school supplies (if priced less than $100):

 1. Binders

 2. Book bags

 3. Calculators

 4. Cellophane tape

 5. Blackboard chalk

 6. Compasses

 7. Composition books

 8. Crayons

 9. Erasers

 10. Folders; expandable, pocket, plastic and manila

 11. Glue, paste and paste sticks

 12. Highlighters

 13. Index cards

 14. Index card boxes

 15. Legal pads

 16. Lunch boxes

 17. Markers

 18. Notebooks

 19. Paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board and construction paper

 20. Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes

 21. Pencil sharpeners

 22. Pencils

 23. Pens

 24. Protractors

 25. Rulers

 26. Scissors

 27. Writing tablets

No exemption certificate is required – with one exception. If the purchaser is buying the supplies under a business account, the retailer must obtain an exemption certificate from the purchaser certifying that the items are purchased for use by an elementary or secondary school student. “Under a business account” means the purchaser is using a business credit card or business check rather than a personal credit card or personal check; being billed under a business account maintained at the retailer; or is using a business membership at a retailer that is membership based.

The following items are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday:

 • Baby clothes

 • Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students

 • Belts with attached buckles

 • Boots – cowboy, hiking

 • Caps/hats – baseball, fishing, golf, knitted

 • Coats and wraps

 • Diapers – adult and baby

 • Dresses

 • Gloves (generally)

 • Gym suits and uniforms

 • Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts

 • Hosiery

 • Jackets

 • Jeans

 • Jerseys – baseball and football

 • Jogging apparel

 • Neckwear and ties

 • Pajamas

 • Pants and trousers

 • Raincoats and ponchos

 • Robes

 • Shirts

 • Shoes – sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking

 • Socks (including athletic)

 • Shorts

 • Suits, slacks and jackets

 • Sweatshirts

 • Sweat suits

 • Sweaters

 • Swimsuits

 • Underclothes

 • Work clothes and uniforms

The following items are not tax-exempt:   

 • Accessories (generally) – barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets, watches

 • Backpacks – unless for use by elementary and secondary students

 • Baseball cleats and pants

 • Belt buckles (without belt)

 • Boots – climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski, waders

 • Buttons and zippers

 • Cloth and lace, knitting yarns and other fabrics

 • Dry cleaning services

 • Football pants

 • Golf gloves

 • Handbags and purses

 • Handkerchiefs

 • Hard hats

 • Helmets – bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle, sports

 • Ice skates

 • Jewelry

 • Laundering services

 • Leather goods – except belts with buckles and wearing apparel

 • Pads – football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee, shoulder

 • Personal flotation devices

 • Rented clothing (including uniforms, formal wear and costumes)

 • Roller blades and skates

 • Safety clothing, glasses

 • Shoes – bicycle (cleated), bowling, golf

For complete information on the sales tax holiday in Texas, visit the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Web site at www.window.state.tx.us.