A shopper's guide to tax-free weekend

  • For more information on Texas' tax-free weekend, visit the state comptroller's website at www.window.state.tx.us.

From polos to protractors, pencils and more, a lot goes in to prepping for a new school year. And, while expenses can add up, a reprieve is on its way.

Texas' sales tax holiday spans Friday through Sunday, giving shoppers throughout the Lone Star State a chance to stock up for school without shelling out that 8 percent sales tax.

Savings apply to qualifying school supplies, clothing and footwear priced at less than $100.

Here's a guide to what's taxed, what isn't, and the best way to plan out your shopping excursion.

Tax-free school supplies:


Book bags


Cellophane tape

Blackboard chalk


Composition books



Folders - expandable, pocket, plastic and manila

Glue, paste and paste sticks


Index cards

Index card boxes

Legal pads

Lunch boxes

Markers (including dry erase markers)


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






Writing tablets

Tax-free clothing and footwear:

Baby clothes

Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students

Belts with attached buckles

Boots - cowboy and hiking

Caps/hats - baseball, fishing, golf and knitted

Coats and wraps

Diapers - adult and baby


Gloves (generally)

Gym suits and uniforms

Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts




Jerseys - baseball and football

Jogging apparel

Neckwear and ties


Pants and trousers

Raincoats and ponchos



Shoes - sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis and walking

Socks (including athletic varieties)


Suits, slacks and jackets


Sweat suits




Work clothes and uniforms

What doesn't qualify for the tax exemption?

Accessories (generally) - barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets and watches

Backpacks, unless for use by elementary and secondary students

Baseball cleats and pants

Belt buckles without belt

Boots - climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski and waders

Buttons and zippers

Cloth and lace, knitting yarns and other fabrics

Dry cleaning services

Football pants

Golf gloves

Handbags and purses


Hard hats

Helmets - bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle and sports

Ice skates


Laundering services

Leather goods, except belts with buckles and wearing apparel

Pads - football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee and shoulder

Personal flotation devices

Rented clothing (including uniforms, formal wear and costumes)

Roller blades and skates

Safety clothing and glasses

Shoes - bicycle

Did you know ... ?

The average person with children in grades kindergarten through 12 will spend $688.62 on their kids for back-to-school.

Those K through 12 expenditures include an estimated $129.20 on shoes and $95.44 on school supplies.

College students and their families will spend an average $907.22 on school supplies, dorm gear and more.

Combined spending for back-to-school and back-to-college will reach $83.8 billion nationwide.

About half of those surveyed plan to begin back-to-school shopping three weeks to a month before school begins.

Sources: National Retail Federation news release, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts news release

What's the best way to tackle tax-free weekend? We asked those in the biz.

Have patience and be prepared for the crowds. Some people get angry because they're around so many people and have to wait in lines.

- Monica Maloney, Rue 21 manager

Shop early in the day. Heavy traffic means some stores get pretty torn up by closing time.

- Brian Patteson, J.C. Penney manager

Take a list. It helps determine exactly what you need and which stores to visit.

- Marisol Valderrama, Maurices manager