KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 3, 2020
By Jennifer Miko
Beginning Friday, August 7, Katy families can take advantage of tax-free purchases for school supplies, clothes, shoes, and other qualifying items. Shoppers can purchase in-person or from an online or catalog vendor doing business in Texas. The tax-free opportunities go through midnight, Sunday, August 9.
Although it’s a Texas tradition for Katy families to take advantage of the savings and stock up on back-to-school items, this year, many families say they will not hit the stores for the annual tax savings, due to COVID-19 and the mandated changes in education plans this fall.
School Plans and Paychecks Change Weekend Shopping Plans
“Since we are homeschooling, I do not feel the pressure to get all new right now,” says Katy mom Tabitha Floyd. “We will just order what we need when we need it.”
Single mom Jennifer Skelton says she’s not shopping at all this weekend. The economic climate, and when her son will return to in-person instruction, has impacted her decision to skip the holiday this year.
“I’m lucky to still have a job, but with everything seeming uncertain, I don’t want to spend anything that I don’t have to," says Jennifer Skelton. “Plus, we don’t need back-to-school clothing or a backpack right now. And from the way it looks right now, being that he’s in elementary school, when he does go back it’s going to be fall, or he's not going to need any summer-type clothing."
Shopping for Tax-Exempt School Supplies
Regardless of how students plan to attend school this year, they will need the basic supplies for daily classroom learning – notebooks, pencils, pens, folders, etc.
Student backpacks sold for less than $100 are exempt from tax. Shoppers should check their purchases ahead of time for restrictions. Some items that do not qualify for exemption include computer bags, purses, briefcases, athletic, duffle or gym bags, framed backpacks and luggage.
Click here for the Texas Comptroller’s approved list of school supplies eligible for tax exemption.
Pandemic Affects Shopping Plans
Diana Garza has two kids enrolled in Katy ISD schools and one off to the University of Texas this month. She says, "Masks mixed with Tax-Free Weekend sounds terrible."
Katy mom Melissa Fletcher says she will participate in the sales tax holiday online or at stores offering curbside pickup.
“I’ve barely been inside a store since March and I’m not starting on Tax-Free Weekend,” says Melissa Fletcher.
“We only do the necessary shopping, such as groceries, so I’m not taking myself or my children to any crowded stores to fight for 8.25% savings,” says Skelton.
What doesn’t qualify for the tax-free exemption?
The Texas Comptroller has identified the following items that do not qualify for exemption during the sales tax holiday:
Items sold for $100 or more
Specially-designed athletic activity or protective-use clothing or footwear (like golf cleats and football pads)
Jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and other accessories
Clothing subscription boxes
Items used to make or repair clothing, such as fabric, thread, yarn, buttons, snaps, hooks and zippers
Clothing or footwear rentals, alterations (including embroidery) and cleaning services
Visit the Texas Comptroller’s website here for complete details about the 2020 Tax-Free Weekend.