What items qualify for Virginia’s tax-free weekend?
Published 11:59 am Saturday, August 6, 2022
VICTORIA — It’s that time of year again. As we get ready for schools to reopen, parents catch a break the next few days on some expenses thanks to Virginia’s tax-free weekend. But not every purchase you make this weekend is free of the state sales tax. As for what does (or doesn’t) qualify, let’s take a look.
How long does the tax-free weekend last?
Yes, state officials say that’s one of the first questions they get asked each year. The tax-free weekend started Friday, Aug. 5 at 12:01 a.m. It’ll last through Sunday, Aug. 7 at 11:59 p.m. Now to be clear, this doesn’t just involve in-person shopping. If you shop at a Virginia store online or call in an order through the phone, the tax-free part still applies. If anyone still sends orders by mail, that qualifies as well, as long as you postmark it by Sunday night.
What can I buy?
Here’s where it gets specific. We all think of school supplies, clothes and appliances when tax-free weekend comes around. But not everything makes the cut. The Dispatch reached out to state tax officials and got a breakdown of what can be bought tax-free in Virginia over the next few days.
Now before rolling out the list, we do have to go over a couple rules. First, while some older computer storage equipment is allowed, you can’t actually buy a computer or laptop tax-free this weekend.
There’s one more rule when it comes to the school supplies mentioned below. If any of the individual items are priced above $20, you’ll have to pay tax on it. It’s just those school supplies $20 and under that go tax-free this time.
Eligible school supplies
This is the only section that has a list of what is (and isn’t) eligible, as the state assembly was very specific about what’s allowed.
- Binder pockets
- Blackboard chalk
- Book bags, messenger bags, and totes
- Cellophane tape
- Clay and glazes
- Composition books
- Computer storage media; diskettes; recordable compact discs & flash drives
- Dictionaries and thesauruses
- Disinfectant wipes
- Erasers (including dry erase marker erasers and dry erase marker cleaning solution)
- Folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila)
- Glue, paste, and paste sticks
- Hand sanitizer soap
- Index card boxes
- Index cards
- Legal pads
- Lunch boxes and lunch bags (including disposable lunch bags)
- Markers (including dry erase markers and dry erase marker kits)
- Musical instruments, musical instrument accessories, and replacement items for musical instruments
- Paintbrushes for artwork
- Paints (acrylic, tempera, and oil)
- Paper (loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy and printer paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper)
- Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
- Pencil sharpeners
- Reference books
- Reference maps and globes
- Sheet music
- Sketch and drawing pads
- Writing tablets
What about clothes and shoes?
Yes, clothes fall under the tax-free weekend rules this year. The same goes for footwear. There’s just one catch. Each individual piece of clothes or set of shoes must be $100 or less to qualify. If it’s over $100, then you’ll have to pay state sales tax.
Are appliances included for tax-free weekend?
Yes, you can buy some appliances like refrigerators and freezers, depending on the brand. Only Energy Star and WaterSense products that cost $2,500 or less qualify. That includes:
- Air Conditioners
- Ceiling Fans
- Washing Machines/Clothes Washers
- Light Bulbs
- Bath Sink Faucets
- Faucet Accessories
- Landscape Irrigation Controllers
What are the rules for emergency products?
The final items on the list are emergency products. That includes:
- Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item
- Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item
- Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item
- Other hurricane preparedness items – $60 or less per item