It may seem like summer vacation just began, but it’s already time to start thinking about the new school year! As parents look to check off supplies on their child’s back-to-school list, the upcoming Tax Free Weekend and shopping online both offer great opportunities to stock up and save on some of your shopping needs.
When is this year’s tax free holiday? And what is tax-free during that weekend?
* This year’s Sales Tax Holiday is Aug. 10-12.
* According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, you can buy most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks tax free from a Texas store or from an online or catalog seller doing business in Texas.
What do you recommend parents do to get the most out of this tax holiday?
* Know the difference between “back-to-school sale” and tax-free items. Retail stores may advertise back-to-school sales because they know consumers are buying items for the upcoming school year. Certain discounts will still have taxes applied to them unless the item appears on the state comptroller’s tax-free list.
* Read the fine print. Retailers aren’t required to collect state and local sales or use tax on most clothing and footwear sold for less than $100 during Tax Free Weekend. The exemption applies to items that sell for less than $100, regardless of how many items are sold on the same ticket.
* Save your receipts. You’ll need them if you want to make an exchange or return an item. Remember some items are non-refundable or have a 30-day return period.
Shopping online is becoming more popular, but there are a lot of online shopping scams out there, correct?
* According to BBB’s 2017 Risk Report, online purchase schemes are the riskiest type of scams.
* The majority of online purchase scams occur when a payment is made online in exchange for a good or service, but nothing is delivered.
What are some tips for safe online shopping?
* Use a secure site. When shopping online, the first step is to make sure the URL starts with “https” and includes a lock symbol. The “s” in “https” stands for secure, which means your information is being protected. Click on the lock symbol to verify that it is activated.
* Protect your personal information. Be sure to use your credit card instead of your debit card, as credit cards not only provide additional protection, but it’s also easier to dispute a fraudulent charge with a credit card. Also, be extremely wary of any website or store that asks for your child’s personal information to access special deals.