Tax Free Weekend

Area stores swell with foot traffic for one of the most popular shopping holidays in Texas: tax-free weekend, which is now underway. Shoppers have a chance to purchase items without the sales tax. The manager of one store in southwest Houston says they're taking advantage of the savings. Pat Hernandez has more.

The weekend before the start of school is the busiest for retailers because it's the weekend shoppers can stretch their dollar — about 8-dollars on every 100 dollars they spend. Thomas Schoenbein is operations manager of the Academy
store at the Southwest Freeway. He says they've stocked up on merchandise and extended store hours to accommodate the increase in customer volume this weekend.

"There is a lot of planning and preparation going on, from having extra staff to making sure product is available, to making sure that our customers experience a great shopping environment."

Since the annual event began 12-years ago, Schoenbein says it's been a win-win for both the seller and buyer.

"Tax-free weekend can be very beneficial. I think folks need to shop wisely. There are limits to the purchases of a hundred dollars and less, and there are certain items that are included in the tax free categories."

The law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under 100-dollars. Heather O'Connor and her children started their tax-free weekend early.

"Yep, we know exactly what we need. We came out. We want our jeans We wanted our school uniforms — which of course aren't tax-free unfortunately — but then we wanted our shoes and our school supplies, and then we're done."

Last year more than 2-dozen school supply items were added to the list of exempted materials, ranging from pens and pencils to calculators, to some clothing. O'Connor says she won't overbuy.

"No, we don't tend to stock up. I'm a 'just in time' shopper, so that's why I'm here the week before school starts. But I love that tax-free weekend is just before school starts. In fact, we waited to shop today."

Even with his little ones in tow, Bob Cristman says he's maintaining his focus.

"Save a little money. Get the kids ready for the new (school) year. You look for the best price, so this is the weekend to try and do that. In my case, they go to a school that has a uniform, so it's a little easier to do that. It's all laid out for us. You just got to go find the best price for the clothes."

Through Sunday, Texas shoppers are expected to save over 59- million dollars in state and local sales tax this weekend. For the list of items that are tax exempt, log on to www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html.   

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...