Sales tax holiday on for this weekend

Like the two-minute warning in football, back-to-school shopping season means something fun is about to be over.

At least the state takes some of the sting out of it by offering a back-to-school state sales tax holiday.

And because, like school, the hurricane season hits Virginia at the end of August and early September, hurricane preparedness items are also offered sans the state's 5.5 percent sales tax.

And, for efficiency's sake a third tax holiday, for energy-saving or water-saving appliances, has also been wrapped into the tax holiday which began Friday morning and continues until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

"This sales tax holiday will make items that help families prepare for the school year or for a potential emergency more affordable," said Gov. Terry McAuliffe, in a statement announcing the holiday. "It is my hope that shoppers will use this time to get their children the items they need to succeed in school, as well as stock up on the essentials that may come in handy during a hurricane or other emergency where electricity or clean water may be unavailable for an extended period of time."

Here's a list of the sale tax exempt items:

•Most school and office supplies, such as pens, loose-leaf paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, and construction paper, priced at $20 or less.

•Clothing and footwear, priced at $100 or less per item or pair.

• Batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, fire extinguishers, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors, buckets, rope, and first aid kits, priced at $60 or less.

• Gas-powered chain saws, priced at $350 or less, and chain saw accessories, priced at $60 or less.

• Portable generators, priced at $1,000 or less.

• Energy Star-labeled dishwashers, washing machines, air conditioners, ceiling fans, light bulbs, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators, priced at $2,500 or less.

• WaterSense-labeled sink faucets, faucet accessories, aerators, shower heads, toilets, urinals, and landscape irrigation controllers, priced at $2,500 or less

In addition to the specific items exempted, retailers may offer other items "tax-free" by paying the sales tax themselves during the holiday, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Vaughan can be reached at (757)345-2343..

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