Virginia sales tax holiday will run through the weekend

(The Center Square) – A sales tax holiday on school supplies and emergency preparedness items, which temporarily exempts purchasers from the tax, will run from Friday through Sunday in Virginia this weekend.

The sales tax begins Friday one minute after midnight and ends at 11:59 on Sunday. The qualified items can be bought at stores, online, through mail order or through the telephone and receive the exemption from the sales tax. The commonwealth runs a sales tax holiday annually before the start of the school year.

“During a time of high inflation and gas prices, Virginians will receive some needed tax relief this weekend as they support local businesses across the Commonwealth,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a statement. “Our administration will continue to stand up for parents trying to buy school supplies for their children, Virginians preparing for upcoming weather-related events, and families struggling with the cost of living challenges. Building on the record tax relief for Virginians in this year’s budget, lowering the cost of living remains a top priority for my administration as we work together to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Some of the items include qualified school supplies that cost $20 or less per item. The qualified items include backpacks, pens, pencils, crayons, writing tablets, calculators, lunch boxes and other supplies. The holiday also exempts certain clothing and footwear items that cost $60 or less, such as shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, suits and diapers. Some items that are not exempt include watches, jewelry and cosmetics.

Stephen Haner, a senior fellow for state and local tax policy at the free-market Thomas Jefferson Institute, told The Center Square these holidays sometimes affect when people buy products, but doubts it has an impact on overall spending.

“Good or bad as a policy approach, they are here and not going anywhere,” Haner said. “People buying for back to school in particular tend to wait for the sales tax break, and it is now built into retailer marketing plans. It has more effect on the timing of the spending than the amounts spent, I suspect.”

The sales tax holiday also includes portable generators that cost $1,000 or less, gas-powered chainsaws that cost $350 or less and chainsaw accessories that cost $60 or less. It also includes qualifying Energy Star or WaterSense products purchased for noncommercial home or personal use that cost $2,500 or less.

Other emergency preparedness items that cost $60 or less, such as certain batteries, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, duct tape and bottled water, are also exempt.

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