What items are eligible for the Virginia Duty Free Weekend?

FARMVILLE – It’s that time of year again. As we prepare for the reopening of schools, parents are taking a break the next few days from some spending thanks to Virginia’s Duty Free Weekend. But not all purchases you make this weekend are exempt from state sales tax. As for what is (or isn’t) allowable, let’s take a look.

How long does the tax-free weekend last?

Yes, state officials say it’s one of the first questions they get asked every year. The tax-free weekend started on Friday, August 5 at 12:01 a.m. It will last until Sunday, August 7 at 11:59 p.m. Now, to be clear, this isn’t just about in-person purchases. If you are shopping at a Virginia store online or placing an order over the phone, the tax-free portion still applies. If someone is still mailing in orders, that also qualifies, as long as you hide it before Sunday evening.

What can I buy?

Here’s where it gets specific. We all think of school supplies, clothes and appliances when the tax-free weekend arrives. But not everything makes the cut. The Herald has contacted state tax authorities and obtained a breakdown of what can be purchased tax-free in Virginia over the next few days.

Now, before we roll down the list, we need to go over a few rules. First, although some older computer storage equipment is allowed, you cannot buy a tax-free computer or laptop this weekend.

There is another rule regarding school supplies mentioned below. If the price of any of the individual items is more than $20, you will have to pay tax on it. Only school supplies $20 and under are tax-free this time around.

Eligible school supplies

This is the only section that contains a list of what is (and is not) eligible, as the state assembly has been very specific about what is allowed.

  • Pockets for binders
  • binders
  • Blackboard chalk
  • School bags, messenger bags and tote bags
  • Calculators
  • Tape
  • Clay and glazes
  • Compass
  • Composition notebooks
  • computer storage media; floppy disks; recordable compact discs and USB drives
  • Pencils
  • Dictionaries and thesaurus
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Dividers
  • Erasers (including dry erase marker erasers and dry erase marker cleaning solution)
  • Folders (stretch, pocket, plastic and manila)
  • Glue, glue and glue sticks
  • Hand sanitizing soap
  • Highlighters
  • Card boxes
  • Files
  • Legal blocks
  • 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 articles for musical instruments
  • Notebooks
  • Artwork Brushes
  • Paints (acrylic, tempera and oil)
  • Paper (lined loose-leaf 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
  • Sharpener
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Reporters
  • Reference books
  • Reference maps and globes
  • Rules
  • Scissors
  • Partition
  • Sketching and drawing blocks
  • Textbooks
  • Fabrics
  • Watercolors
  • Notebooks
  • Writing tablets

What about clothes and shoes?

Yes, clothing is subject to the zero-rated weekend rules this year. The same goes for shoes. There is only one catch. Each garment or set of shoes must cost $100 or less to qualify. If it’s over $100, you’ll have to pay state sales tax.

Are appliances included for the duty free weekend?

Yes, you can buy certain appliances like refrigerators and freezers, depending on the brand. Only Energy Star and WaterSense products that cost $2,500 or less qualify. Including:

  • air conditioners
  • Ceiling fans
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Washing machines/laundryers
  • Dishwasher
  • Bulbs
  • Refrigerators
  • Basin faucets
  • Faucet accessories
  • shower head
  • Bathroom
  • Urinals
  • Landscape Irrigation Controllers

What are the rules for emergency products?

The last items on the list are emergency products. Including:

  • Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item
  • Gas Chainsaws – $350 or less per item
  • Chainsaw Accessories – $60 or less per item
  • Other Hurricane Preparedness Items – $60 or less per item

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