Don’t forget: Virginia’s sales tax holiday is this weekend

Need to buy school supplies for your children or a portable generator in preparation for the next hurricane?

This weekend is time to do so.

Virginia’s annual tax holiday began at 12:01 a.m. Friday (Aug. 3) and runs through 11:59 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 5). During that period, sales tax won’t be tacked onto purchases of eligible items.

According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school shoppers are expected to spend $82.8 billion nationally, compared to last year’s $83.6 billion.

Families with students in kindergarten through 12th grade are expected to spend an average of $625 each, according to a federation survey, with $237 of that going toward clothing, the survey said.

Shoppers also plan to spend an average of $187 on electronics, $139 on shoes and $122 on supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks, and lunchboxes, the survey said.

In addition to school supplies and generators, certain appliances and other hurricane preparedness items also won’t be subject to sales tax this weekend.

What items are eligible? Here’s the list from the Virginia Department of Taxation:

School supplies, clothing and footwear

  • School supplies: $20 or less per item.
  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item.

Hurricane and emergency preparedness products

  • Portable generators: $1,000 or less per item.
  • Gas-powered chainsaws: $350 or less per item.
  • Chainsaw accessories: $60 or less per item.
  • Other specified hurricane preparedness items: $60 or less per item.

Energy Star and WaterSense​ products

  • Qualifying Energy Star or WaterSense products (must be purchased for noncommercial or personal use): $2,500 or less per item.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.