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Stretch your back-to-school dollar during tax free weekend

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Looking to save a few dollars on back-to-school items and clothing? This weekend is the annual sales tax holiday in Texas where residents can buy a large variety of school-related and other items without paying sales taxes.

Local department stores and specialty shops are preparing for the larger-than-usual crowds, adding additional staff as well as additional merchandise. Some also are carrying lists of the approved exempt items.

At Belk, located at 5801 Long Prairie Road in Flower Mound, managers are meeting every morning to prepare for the big weekend.

“The whole story is getting ready,” said Duane Yeatman, one of the section managers at Belk.

The store has brought in additional apparel and backpacks to offer ample supply to parents seeking to stock up for the new school year.

“We have a big crowd every year,” Yeatman said.

State law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend, according to a news release from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Purchasing items with a business account is not allowed, but layaways made during the holiday are approved.

The three-day sales tax holiday begins Friday and ends on Sunday.

Here’s a smattering of the items available for tax exemption (if each individual item is priced under $100):

Aprons (household)
Baby clothes
Baby diapers (cloth and disposable)
Belts with buckles attached
Blouses
Boots (general purpose)
Bow ties
Bowling shirts
Camp clothes
Caps (baseball, fishing, golf)
Chef uniforms
Children’s novelty costumes
Clerical vestments
Coats and wraps
Coveralls
Dresses
Employee uniforms (if bought, not rented)
Fishing vests (non-flotation)
Gloves
Graduation caps and gowns
Gym suits and uniforms
Hats
Hooded shirts and sweatshirts
Hosiery (including support hosiery)
Hunting vests
Jackets
Jeans
Jogging apparel
Knitted caps or hats
Leg warmers
Leotards and tights
Neckwear and ties
Pants
Raincoats and ponchos
Rain hats
Robes
Scarves
Scout uniforms
Shawls and wraps
Shirts (including hooded shirts)
Shoes
Shorts
Skirts
Sleepwear (nightgowns, nightshirts and pajamas)
Slippers
Socks (athletic and general)
Suits
Suspenders
Sweaters
Swimsuits
Underclothes (men and women)
Uniforms for school, work, nurse, waitress, military, postal, police and fire)
Veils
Vests

Allowed school supplies (if each individual item is priced under $100) include:

Binders
Book bags
Calculators
Cellophane tape
Blackboard chalk
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 (including dry erase 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

A full list of exempt and non-exempt items can be found at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/d/tx98_490_clothing.html.

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