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No-Tax Back-To-School Shopping

August 1, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
Who doesn’t love shopping -- and this weekend it’s even better:?Beginning at 12:01 a.m. this Friday, Aug. 2, through midnight, Saturday, Aug. 3, no sales tax will be collected on clothing or footwear having a selling price of less than $100 per item. This back-to-school benefit for shoppers is great for everyone. All businesses open on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3 are required to participate, though the holiday does not extend to Sunday. We learned about this year’s event from State Representative Megan Hess. She went out a release with some good advice: "The tax free weekend serves as a good reminder that tax dollars belong to Iowans, not the government," said Hess. "Minnesota does not have a state sales tax on clothing and by living so close to Minnesota many will choose to go back-to-school shopping in the Twin Cities or Mankato. The Iowa Sales Tax Holiday eliminates more than sales tax and time in the car - it supports Iowa businesses." Then we visited the Department of Iowa Revenue site at: There we learned that this yearly “holiday” is held the first Friday and Saturday of August. As Megan pointed out in her news release, the holiday does not include Sunday; and, businesses that are open on these days are required to participate. Businesses cannot advertise that they will pay or otherwise absorb the sales tax on items that do not qualify. So when you go shopping in Iowa this Friday and Saturday for select clothing and footwear, no sales tax includeing local option sales tax will be collected on items having a selling pricess less than $100. The exemption does not apply in any way to the price of an item selling for $100 or more. The exemption applies to each article priced under $100 regardless or how many items are sold on the same invoice to a customer. Clothing means: any article of wearing apparel and typical footwear intended to be worn on or about the human body. Clothing does not include watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, sporting equipment, skis, swim fins, roller blades, skates and any special clothing or footwear designed primarily for athletic activity or protective use and not usually considered appropriate for everyday wear. There are a number of examples on the Department of Revenue site, offering information on: buy one, get one free or for a reduced price; returning an eligible item; coupons, rebates and discounts; exchanging a tax-exempt purchase after the sales tax holiday; gift certificates; rain checks; layaway sales; rentals; mail order sales; repairs and alterations; and, refunds. I was born to shop. And in my world, “shopping” doesn’t always mean buying. Shopping is all about looking for the best bargain -- and this Friday and Saturday most certainly qualify. Even if you don’t have children or grandchildren in school, you can benefit by this sales tax holiday. Now, get out there and shop!


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