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Arkansas Holding Sales Tax Holiday this Weekend

Sales tax

It’s back-to-school time, and that means families will be picking up their school supply lists and going shopping.

Arkansas is holding its annual sales tax weekend this weekend, from Saturday, Aug. 4, to Sunday, Aug. 5. The sales tax weekend is held on the first weekend of every August.

Clothing and footwear costing less than $100 per item will be exempt from sales tax. Items costing over $100 will be subject to the full state and local sales taxes.

Clothing accessories and equipment costing less than $50 per item will also be tax-free this weekend. However, sports, recreational and protective equipment will not be exempt from tax.

School supplies and art supplies are exempt from sales tax. Instructional materials, including reference books, textbooks and workbooks, are also free from sales tax.

The sales tax holiday was created in 2011 with the legislature’s approval of Act 757. This act followed a previous effort to create a one-day tax holiday in 2009 and was designed to help Arkansas families and merchants.

Neighboring states, including Tennessee and Mississippi, also hold sales tax holidays, which could attract Arkansas consumers if the state did not have its own tax holiday. Having a tax-free weekend allows Arkansas merchants to compete with merchants from surrounding states, according to state Senator Keith Ingram (D-West Memphis), one of the act’s sponsors. “Certainly, we don’t want our local businesses to be at a competitive disadvantage with border communities,” he said.

In addition to helping merchants, Ingram believes the holiday has a “positive impact” on many families and children in Arkansas.

“Forgoing sales tax will allow them to buy clothes, books and other related items,” Ingram said. “I think this is something families look forward to, and I think our merchants do as well.”

The full list of tax-exempt items includes:

Clothing less than $100 per item

  • Aprons, household and shop
  • Athletic supporters
  • Baby receiving blankets
  • Bathing suits and caps
  • Beach capes and coats
  • Belts and suspenders
  • Boots
  • Coats and jackets
  • Costumes
  • Diapers, including disposables
  • Earmuffs
  • Footlets
  • Formal wear
  • Garters and garter belts
  • Girdles
  • Gloves and mittens for general use
  • Hats and caps
  • Hosiery
  • Insoles for shoes
  • Lab coats
  • Neckties
  • Overshoes
  • Pantyhose
  • Rainwear
  • Rubber pants
  • Sandals
  • Scarves
  • Shoes and shoe laces
  • Slippers
  • Sneakers
  • Socks and stockings
  • Steel-toed shoes
  • Underwear
  • Uniforms, athletic and nonathletic
  • Wedding apparel

Clothing accessories or equipment less than $50 per item

  • Briefcases
  • Cosmetics
  • Hair notions, including barrettes, hair bows and hair nets
  • Handbags
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Jewelry
  • Sunglasses: nonprescription
  • Umbrellas
  • Wallets
  • Watches
  • Wigs and hair pieces

School supplies

  • Binders
  • Book bags
  • Calculators
  • Cellophane tape
  • Chalk: blackboard
  • Compasses
  • Composition books
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Folders: expandable, pocket, plastic and manila
  • Glue, paste and paste sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Index card boxes
  • Legal pads
  • Lunch boxes
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Paper: loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board and construction paper
  • Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Protractors
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Writing tablets

School art supplies

  • Clay and glazes
  • Paints: acrylic, tempera and oil
  • Paintbrushes for artwork
  • Sketch and drawing pads
  • Watercolors

School instructional materials

  • Reference books
  • Reference maps and globes
  • Textbooks
  • Workbooks

Read more about taxes in Arkansas Money & Politics.

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