Back-to-school tax break includes lingerie, but not sports gear

Posted at 12:33 PM, Jul 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-02 14:19:16-04

Starting this Friday, August 2, 2013, Virginia shoppers will have the opportunity to take advantage of the August Sales Tax Holiday for school supplies and clothing.

The sales tax holiday is from August 2 through August 4.

During this three-day period, purchases of qualifying school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from sales tax, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation.

List of eligible and ineligible items for NC’s last tax-free weekend

Virginia Beach has more school kids than any city in the state. So there's a lot of money at stake. But their parents might have a tough time deciphering what is tax free and what's not.

Over the years, the list has grown to be pretty impressive, but some things on here are frankly, quite bizarre.

Here's a quiz:
1. Which of these items can you buy tax-free this weekend?
A. Soccer shin pads
B. Computer thumb drive
C. Girdle

It's the girdle.

2. Which of these items can you buy tax-free this weekend?
A. Lingerie
B. Fur coat
C. Wedding gown
D. All of the above

You got it. All of the above.

3. What kind of shoes can you buy tax-free this weekend?
A. Athletic cleats
B. Steel-toe work shoes
C. Ballet shoes

Steel-toe work shoes.

The Tax Foundation says the entire idea is more gimmick than savings: "Sales tax holidays do not promote economic growth or significantly increase consumer purchases; the evidence shows that they simply shift the timing of purchases. Some retailers raise prices during the holiday, reducing consumer savings."

At straight retail, a tax-holiday is about a five-percent sale. The Tax Foundation says that's not bad, but savvy parents can get even bigger savings if the shop better sales.

Here is an ALL-INCLUSIVE list of what you can get this weekend tax-free:

School Supplies:
• Binder pockets
• Binders
• Blackboard chalk
• Book bags
• Calculators
• Cellophane tape
• Clay and glazes
• Compasses
• Composition books
• Crayons
• Dictionaries and thesauruses
• Dividers
• Erasers (including dry erase marker erasers and dry erase marker
• cleaning solution)
• Folders: expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila
• Glue, paste, and paste sticks
• Highlighters
• Index card boxes
• Index cards
• Legal pads
• Lunch boxes
• Markers (including dry erase markers and dry erase marker kits)
• Musical instruments, musical instrument accessories, and replacement
items for musical instruments
• Notebooks
• Paintbrushes for artwork
• Paints (acrylic, tempera, and oil)
• 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
• Reference books
• Reference maps and globes
• Rulers
• Scissors
• Sheet music
• Sketch and drawing pads
• Textbooks
• Watercolors
• Workbooks; and
• Writing tablets


• Aprons, household and shop
• Athletic supporters
• Baby bibs and clothes
• Baby receiving blankets
• Bandanas
• Bathing suits, swim trunks, cover-ups and bathing caps
• Beach capes and coats
• Belts and suspenders
• Bibs
• Boots
• Choir and altar clothing
• Clerical vestments
• Coats, jackets, and windbreakers
• Corsets and corset laces
• Costumes (sold not rented)
• Coveralls
• Diapers, children and adult, including disposable diapers
• Dresses
• Ear muffs
• Footlets
• Formal wear for men and women (sold, not rented)
• Fur coats and stoles, shawls and wraps
• Garters and garter belts
• Girdles
• Gloves and mittens for general use
• Golf clothing, caps, dresses, shirts, skirts, pants
• Gym suits and uniforms
• Hats and caps
• Hosiery
• Insoles, inserts for shoes
• Jeans
• Jerseys (both athletic and non-athletic)
• Lab coats
• Legwarmers
• Leotards and tights
• Lingerie
• Neckwear, including bow ties, neckties, and scarves
• Nightgowns
• Overshoes and rubber shoes
• Pajamas
• Pantyhose
• Raincoats, rain hats, and ponchos
• Robes
• Rubber pants
• Rubber thong/flip-flops
• Sandals
• Scarves
• Shirts and blouses
• Shoes and shoe laces
• Shorts
• Skirts
• Slacks
• Slippers
• Slips
• Sneakers
• Socks and stockings, including athletic socks
• Steel toed shoes
• Suits
• Suspenders
• Underwear
• Uniforms, athletic and non-athletic
• Vests
• Wedding apparel, including veils (sold not rented)

These are the state’s examples of what you cannot get tax-free, and the state says this list is NOT INCLUSIVE:

Computer supplies:

• Computer storage media; diskettes; compact disks
• Handheld electronic schedulers
• Personal digital assistants
• Printers for computers; and
• Printer supplies for computers; printer paper, printer ink

Clothing accessories:

• Briefcases
• Cosmetics
• Fabric, thread, and yarn used to make clothing
• Hair notions, including, but not limited to, barrettes, hair bows, and hair
• Handbags
• Handkerchiefs
• Jewelry
• Sun glasses, non-prescription
• Umbrellas
• Wallets
• Watches
• Wigs and hair pieces

Sports items:

• Ballet and tap shoes
• Cleated or spiked athletic shoes
• Gloves, including, but not limited to, baseball, bowling, boxing, hockey,
and golf
• Goggles
• Hand and elbow guards
• Life preservers and vests
• Mouth guards
• Roller and ice skates
• Shin guards
• Shoulder pads
• Ski boots
• Waders
• Wetsuits and fins

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Too sexy for school: VA tax holiday covers lingerie, not sports wear