This coming weekend will be a chance for Arkansas families to save money on back to school supplies. The annual tax holiday, which was approved by the state legislature in 2011, relieves shoppers of having to pay state and local sales taxes on certain products.
Items needed for students, along with some clothes and accessories within given price ranges are sold tax free.
Arkansas was one of the last states in the region to offer the tax holiday. Previously, people would leave the state to seek the tax exemptions elsewhere, says Polly Martin, President of the Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association.
“We were, at the time, an island. So people in the border cities were going to Oklahoma, they were going to Missouri, they were going to Memphis, they were going to Texas; and I know a lot of people were making weekends out of it," Martin said.
Despite not collecting taxes, officials from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration say the state has not encountered any measurable revenue deficit in past years.
Martin says the tax break encourages shoppers to make other, taxable purchases.
“If a woman has an extra dollar in her purse, she's going to spend it, and most likely it’s going to be on makeup or something like that that may not be covered. It will be taxable. So the state doesn’t lose and they keep the products here, and they also keep the people in the state purchasing, which gives us jobs.”
Martin also says that many businesses will be offering promotions to attract customers during the busy weekend. The sales tax holiday begins at 12 a.m. Saturday morning and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday night.
A full list of rules on the tax-free holiday can be found here.