LITTLE ROCK — No state sales tax will be charged on certain items at Arkansas stores this weekend during the state’s third back-to-school sales tax holiday.
Created by Act 757 of 2011 and intended to help parents prepare for the start of school, the holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Act 757 exempts clothing items valued at under $100, clothing accessories under $50 and school supplies from the state sales tax. School supplies include instruction items and items that students commonly use in class such as notebooks, paper, pencils, markers, rulers and protractors. Computers and computer software do not get a tax exemption.
The state Department of Finance and Administration estimated in 2011 that the tax break would cost the state $2 million each year. The actual cost is unknown because the state does not require businesses to report their sales of tax-free items on the holiday separately.
Nikki Hull of Mountain View said Thursday she planned to take advantage of the sales tax holiday and go back-to-school shopping this weekend for her 6-year-old daughter, Abigail, who is entering first grade.
"We’ve got to get all her stuff for school, her crayons and pencils and … some school clothes and shoes. It helps out a lot, especially since taxes went up this year," Hull said. "A little bit here and there saves a lot."
The state sales tax increased from 6 cents to 6.5 cents on the dollar on July 1. Voters approved the tax hike in November to build a statewide four-lane highway system.
Caelyn Schutte, 14,who is entering ninth grade, was expecting a family shopping trip this weekend to buy clothes for school.
"It’s less money because of no tax," Schutte said. "My dad always takes me on that weekend."
But Terry Elliott of Mayflower said he has already done much of his back-to-school shopping for children Parker, 8, and Hannah, 15, who are entering 3rd and 11th grade, respectively.
Elliott said he saves money by looking for the best price for each item and prefers not to do all his shopping at once.
"I plan on doing a little shopping during that (tax holiday), but I don’t want to fight the crowd, you know what I mean?" he said.
A full list of items included in the tax holiday is available on DF&A’s website.