ARKLATEX, Ar. (KSLA) - Experts predict back-to-school shopping will cost even more for parents this year, even with more parents opting for virtual learning. This weekend in Arkansas, consumers can take advantage of savings with the state’s annual sales tax holiday.
"It starts at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and runs through 11:50 Sunday night," said Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. "It's really the entire weekend. You're not going to pay your state sales tax, which is 6.5 percent, and you're also not going to pay your local sales tax which usually averages to anywhere from 2 to 3 percent."
Hardin said the majority of business has shifted in recent years to online sales.
“We work with retailers and certainly the big websites many people use, and made them aware of the sales tax holiday. You don’t have to order from an Arkansas-based business. As long as you’re having the product shipped to an Arkansas address then the sale’s going to qualify,” said Hardin.
Arkansas initially started the sales tax holiday eight years ago so families could save money on things like notebooks, glue and scissors. However, Hardin says it’s now turned into more than that, with families coming from other states to take advantage of the discount.
“If we look at just the overall amount of what people are buying and the amount of the sales tax would be saved, it would be clothing,” said Hardin.
With more parents turning to digital learning this fall due to COVID-19, families are investing in laptops and computers so their children can utilize them for learning. According to Hardin, however, those types of technology purchases do not qualify as tax-free.
“That’s one question that we’ve received quite a few times over the last few weeks but unfortunately computers and laptops do not qualify as of now. I certainly see where that would make sense in the current situation but unfortunately they do not qualify as of now,” said Hardin.
To participate in the sales tax holiday, consumers can buy an item that qualifies under $100. Then that item will be exempt from both state and local taxes.
“You can spend $1,500, as long as all of your items are under $100 individually, you’re not paying any sales tax. You’re looking at significant savings added up,” said Hardin.
Texas and Oklahoma’s Sales Tax Holiday weekends run August 7-9.