11:08 AM

Sales Tax Holiday Weekend Runs Aug. 5-7

Tax-Free Shopping Gives Spenders $112 Million Discount


By Laura Wagner

The first weekend in August will offer Houstonians no relief from the heat. But back-to-school shoppers in Texas who venture out August 5-7 (or shop online) can save a cool 7.5-8.5% on every qualifying purchase.

An annual event since 1999, Texas’ Sales Tax Holiday offers Texans the opportunity to buy school supplies and other qualifying items without paying sales tax. As a result, Texans will avoid $112 million in state and local taxes during the weekend, according to the Texas State Comptroller’s estimate.

Bright-pink-sandals-JelliesStrict rules apply, however: eligible items must cost less than $100 individually, including any shipping charges for online purchases. Clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks are generally included, but there are exceptions. For example, Jellies are eligible, if anyone is still in the market for a pair, but track shoes and cleats are not. And while most forms of sneakers are eligible, shoelaces are taxable. Check the complete list of eligible items before you shop to avoid unpleasant surprises at the register.

Dr. Kevin Jones, UHD Professor of Finance and Chair of the Marilyn Davies College of Business Finance Department, says the tax-free weekend is an excellent opportunity for Houstonians to stretch their dollars, but cautions against blowing the budget solely for the discount. 

“I don’t recommend buying items you don’t need just to save on sales tax,” said Jones, “But for parents and college students, this weekend is a chance to get necessary clothes and school supplies at a discount.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, dollars in Houston go farther than in most other North American cities. But residents are still struggling to make ends meet in the current high-inflation environment. Groceries, utilities, and gas are all taking healthy bites out of paychecks, making any discount a win for struggling families.

Jones agrees that even small savings can make a significant difference to household budgets right now. “Small amounts add up. Texas took in $3.9 billion in sales tax revenue in July alone—money that came from consumers paying sales tax at a rate of 7.5-8.5%. So while eight cents on the dollar may not seem like a lot, it can be when you add up all your qualifying purchases,” he said. “And purchasing goods right now is obviously helpful to local businesses and the economy.”

Purchases may be made in stores or from an online retailer that does business in Texas. Be sure to read the fine print for online and special purchases, as delivery charges and other fees can cause an item to exceed the $100 limit. Purchases must be made before midnight on Sunday, August 7.


Photo: Anthony Douanne/iStock

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.