- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2009

RICHMOND | Start putting together those shopping lists: Virginians can save some money next weekend during the state’s annual back-to-school tax holiday.

From Friday through Sunday, shoppers at retail stores statewide will be exempt from the 5 percent sales tax on school supplies priced up to $20 per item and on clothes and shoes priced up to $100.

The state Department of Taxation says a wide range of school supplies can be purchased tax-free over the weekend: Binders, book bags, highlighters, musical instruments, sketch pads, paper, pens and pencils are among the items on its specific, 42-item list.

Those dreading returning to school can cling to summer by buying tax-free swimwear, sandals and flip-flops, which are included on the department’s tax-exempt clothing list. People already looking ahead to winter can buy tax-free fur coats and stoles, ear muffs and mittens.

Choir robes, clerical vestments, corsets and costumes — sold, not rented — are also tax-free.

Shoppers who don’t have school-age children can stock up on tax-free diapers, for both babies and adults. Dancers and 1980s nostalgists can purchase some tax-free legwarmers. Shoppers can buy tax-exempt garter belts, girdles and golf clothing — but will have to pay tax on golf gloves and other sporting equipment.

Want a new computer for school? You’ll likely still have to pay sales tax. Computers, printers, data-storage devices and related supplies will still be taxed, unless stores choose to make those or any other items tax-free for shoppers and pay the taxes to the state themselves.

Don’t feel like going to the store? Shoppers don’t necessarily have to leave home to take advantage of the sales-tax breaks. Items purchased online or over the telephone from Virginia retailers will be treated as exempt if a customer pays for and receives the items during the period, or if the customer orders and pays for the items and the seller accepts the order during the exemption period for immediate shipment, even if delivery arrives after the weekend.

It’s the fourth year in a row that shoppers will get a break from paying state sales taxes on school supplies and clothing, and the taxation department expects shoppers to save $4 million during the period. Virginia also has a hurricane-preparedness tax holiday in May and an energy-saving tax holiday in October.

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