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Family Money

purple backpackRegardless of whether your child is in Kindergarten or College, back to school shopping is sure to be expensive. In fact, families spend an average of $630 each year shopping for back to school supplies, according to the National Retail Federation. As a small reprieve from this financial burden, each year retailers are required to participate in a sales tax holiday which always takes place on the first weekend in August. This year Tax Free Weekend is August 1st-3rd. Here are three things you will need to know while shopping for back to school supplies on Tax Free Weekend:

1. School supplies selling for less than $20.00 per item are tax free. Qualifying school supplies include any items commonly used by students in a course of study. Therefore, all common school supplies as well as many office supplies, art supplies, musical instruments, thermoses, lunch boxes and reference books are all tax exempt.

2. Clothing selling for less than $100 per item is also tax free. However, only clothing intended for everyday use is included in the tax-free weekend. This does not include sporting equipment and footwear designed primarily for athletic activities although sneakers, running shoes, and swim suits are included. Clothing accessory items such as purses, jewelry and sunglasses are not included.

3. Calculators under the price limit of $20.00 per item are included in the tax free category. This excludes many scientific and all graphic calculators from inclusion in tax free weekend. Computers and most electronics are also not exempt from taxes as they are not considered a school supply.

Although back to school shopping can seem overwhelming and expensive for most families, there are many families in our community who are simply unable to afford all of the necessary supplies for school. Without assistance, many of these students will come to school without the necessary supplies. In Spotsylvania County, these families, their teachers, and school social workers can procure free school supplies at the Treasure House located behind Massaponax High School. 

Nina Parrish lives in Spotsylvania with her husband and daughter where she runs a tutoring service.

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