What items qualify for Virginia’s tax-free weekend?

Published 11:04 am Saturday, August 6, 2022

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CHARLOTTE COURT HOUSE — It’s that time of year again. As we get ready for schools to reopen, parents catch a break the next few days on some expenses thanks to Virginia’s tax-free weekend. But not every purchase you make this weekend is free of the state sales tax. As for what does (or doesn’t) qualify, let’s take a look. 

How long does the tax-free weekend last? 

Yes, state officials say that’s one of the first questions they get asked each year. The tax-free weekend started Friday, Aug. 5 at 12:01 a.m. It’ll last through Sunday, Aug. 7 at 11:59 p.m. Now to be clear, this doesn’t just involve in-person shopping. If you shop at a Virginia store online or call in an order through the phone, the tax-free part still applies. If anyone still sends orders by mail, that qualifies as well, as long as you postmark it by Sunday night. 

What can I buy? 

Here’s where it gets specific. We all think of school supplies, clothes and appliances when tax-free weekend comes around. But not everything makes the cut. The Gazette reached out to state tax officials and got a breakdown of what can be bought tax-free in Virginia over the next few days. 

Now before rolling out the list, we do have to go over a couple rules. First, while some older computer storage equipment is allowed, you can’t actually buy a computer or laptop tax-free this weekend. 

There’s one more rule when it comes to the school supplies mentioned below. If any of the individual items are priced above $20, you’ll have to pay tax on it. It’s just those school supplies $20 and under that go tax-free this time. 

Eligible school supplies

This is the only section that has a list of what is (and isn’t) eligible, as the state assembly was very specific about what’s allowed. 

  • Binder pockets
  • Binders
  • Blackboard chalk
  • Book bags, messenger bags, and totes
  • Calculators
  • Cellophane tape
  • Clay and glazes
  • Compasses
  • Composition books
  • Computer storage media; diskettes; recordable compact discs & flash drives
  • Crayons
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Dividers
  • Erasers (including dry erase marker erasers and dry erase marker cleaning solution)
  • Folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila)
  • Glue, paste, and paste sticks
  • Hand sanitizer soap
  • Highlighters
  • Index card boxes
  • Index cards
  • Legal pads
  • Lunch boxes and lunch bags (including disposable lunch bags)
  • Markers (including dry erase markers and dry erase marker kits)
  • Musical instruments, musical instrument accessories, and replacement items for musical instruments 
  • Notebooks 
  • Paintbrushes for artwork 
  • Paints (acrylic, tempera, and oil) 
  • Paper (loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy and printer paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper) 
  • Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes 
  • Pencil sharpeners 
  • Pencils 
  • Pens 
  • Protractors 
  • Reference books 
  • Reference maps and globes 
  • Rulers 
  • Scissors 
  • Sheet music 
  • Sketch and drawing pads 
  • Textbooks 
  • Tissues 
  • Watercolors 
  • Workbooks 
  • Writing tablets

What about clothes and shoes? 

Yes, clothes fall under the tax-free weekend rules this year. The same goes for footwear. There’s just one catch. Each individual piece of clothes or set of shoes must be $100 or less to qualify. If it’s over $100, then you’ll have to pay state sales tax. 

Are appliances included for tax-free weekend? 

Yes, you can buy some appliances like refrigerators and freezers, depending on the brand. Only Energy Star and WaterSense products that cost $2,500 or less qualify. That includes: 

  • Air Conditioners 
  • Ceiling Fans 
  • Dehumidifiers 
  • Washing Machines/Clothes Washers 
  • Dishwashers 
  • Light Bulbs 
  • Refrigerators 
  • Bath Sink Faucets
  • Faucet Accessories
  • Showerheads
  • Toilets
  • Urinals
  • Landscape Irrigation Controllers

What are the rules for emergency products?

The final items on the list are emergency products. That includes: 

  • Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item
  • Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item
  • Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item
  • Other hurricane preparedness items – $60 or less per item