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BBB: Getting the most from the tax-free holiday

Posted at 9:39 AM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 16:16:52-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — August is a month of new beginnings for area students, and it usually begins with thoughts of back-to-school shopping. The upcoming tax-free weekend (Aug. 9-11) offers great opportunities to stock up and save!

According to the Texas Comptroller, you can buy most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks tax free from a Texas store or from an online seller doing business in Texas.

In order to get the most from this tax-free holiday, the Better Business Bureau recommends that shoppers:

  • Know the difference between a “back-to-school sale” and tax-free items. 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. During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying items tax free, even if the items must be ordered. Delivery, shipping, handling and transportation charges by the seller are part of the item’s sales price, which might exceed the $100 limit.
  • Save your receipts. You will 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.

Many of the same rules apply for online shopping, but should also include a reminder to:

  • 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 stands for “secure,” which means your information is being protected. Click on the lock symbol to verify that it is activated.
  • Look up the website’s privacy policy and contact information. If it is not clearly listed, or they only have an online form as the point of contact, recognize the big red flag and shop elsewhere.
  • Protect your personal information. Be sure to use your credit card instead of your debit card. Credit cards provide additional protection and it is also easier to dispute a fraudulent charge. Also, be extremely wary of any website or store that asks for your child’s personal information to access special deals.

Follow this helpful link to the Texas Comptroller’s Tax-Free site: https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/publications/98-490.

For more good information from the BBB, visit www.bbb.org.