EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – With inflation continuing to take a bite out of budgets, now more than ever El Paso and Las Cruces area residents are gearing up to take advantage of the upcoming tax-free weekend.

From Friday, August 5 at 12:01 a.m., through midnight Sunday, August 7, Texas, and New Mexico residents can benefit from saving on many back-to-school items such as clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks.

You can buy tax free qualifying items from a Texas store, online or a catalog ding business in Texas and New Mexico. The sales tax exemption applies only to qualifying items you buy during the sales tax holiday.

Qualifying Items

Clothing and Footwear

Qualifying Items

During the sales tax holiday, you can buy most footwear and clothing (sold for less than $100) tax free. You do not need to give the seller an exemption certificate.

The exemption applies to each eligible item sold for less than $100, and there is no limit to the number of qualifying items you can buy.

Items That Do Not Qualify

The following items do not qualify for exemption during the sales tax holiday:

  • items sold for $100 or more
  • clothing subscription boxes
  • specially-designed athletic activity or protective-use clothing or footwear
  • clothing or footwear rentals, alterations (including embroidery) and cleaning services
  • items used to make or repair clothing, such as fabric, thread, yarn, buttons, snaps, hooks and zippers
  • jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and other accessories
  • computers
  • software
  • textbooks
  • certain baggage items (see below)
  • unspecified school supplies (see below)

Face Masks

Cloth and disposable fabric face masks meet the definition of an article of clothing and are exempt from sales tax during the upcoming Sales Tax Holiday.

The statute specifically excludes special clothing or footwear that is primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use and that is not normally worn except when used for the activity. Industrial or medical grade masks (e.g. N95 or other masks designed as personal protective equipment) or other similar personal protection equipment are not exempt during the sales tax holiday.

If a cloth or disposable fabric face mask is sold with a filter, the mask is exempt during the holiday; however, replacement filters are taxable.

For additional information about the upcoming sales tax holiday see Sales Tax Holiday – Clothing, Shoes and School Supplies.

Backpacks

During the sales tax holiday, student backpacks sold for less than $100 are exempt from tax.

The exemption includes backpacks with wheels and messenger bags. You can buy up to 10 backpacks tax free at one time without giving an exemption certificate to the seller.

Baggage Items That Do Not Qualify

The following items do not qualify for this exemption:

  • framed backpacks
  • luggage
  • briefcases
  • athletic, duffle or gym bags
  • computer bags
  • purses

School Supplies

Only specific school supplies sold for less than $100 qualify for the exemption, and an exemption certificate is not required.

Special Purchases

School Supplies Purchased Using a Business Account – Exemption Certificate Required

If you buy qualifying school supplies under a business account, you must give a properly completed Form 01-339, Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate (PDF), to the seller.

“Under a business account” means you are:

  • using a business credit card or business check and not a personal credit card or personal check;
  • being billed under a business account maintained by the seller; or
  • using a business membership at a membership-based retailer.

Layaways

During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying items tax free when you:

  • make the final payment on an item already on layaway; or
  • choose an item and place it on layaway

It is important to note that delivery, shipping, handling, and transportation charges by the seller are part of the item’s sales price.

Since clothing, backpacks and school supplies must be less than $100 to qualify, you have to look at the item’s total sales price to determine if you can buy it tax free.

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