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New, Combined Sales Tax Holiday Is August 7-9


~ Includes school, emergency and energy-efficient items, plus clothing and footwear ~

RICHMOND – The annual back-to-school sales tax holiday returns in early August. Along with school supplies, clothing and footwear, shoppers can now buy emergency preparedness items and certain energy-efficient products that were previously tax-exempt only during their own respective tax holidays.

Virginia’s existing three tax holidays – back to school in August, hurricane and emergency preparedness in May, and Energy Star and WaterSense in October – were combined into a single event by the 2015 General Assembly. The new combined sales tax holiday this year is Friday, Aug. 7, through Sunday, Aug. 9.

During the holiday, shoppers won’t be charged state and local sales tax on a variety of items. The tax-exempt products have various price limits, but there is no restriction on how many exempt items consumers can purchase.

“I encourage Virginians to take advantage of this tax-free weekend,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “This is a great opportunity for families as they get ready to send their children back to school, stock up on basic emergency supplies, or simply want to save money now and for years to come by replacing electricity- and water-hogging appliances with energy-efficient models. The holiday is also a great chance to boost Virginia businesses.”

Here’s an explanation of the tax exemptions during the holiday:
  • Most school/office supplies, such as pens, loose-leaf paper, scissors, binders, backpacks and construction paper, will be tax-exempt as long as each item costs $20 or less.
  • Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less per article or pair will be tax-exempt.
  • Items that may be needed to prepare for an emergency, priced at $60 or less each, will be exempt from sales tax; examples include batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, fire extinguishers, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors, buckets, rope and first aid kits.
  • Gas-powered chainsaws that cost $350 or less each, and chainsaw accessories that cost $60 or less each, will be exempt.
  • Portable generators will be exempt if they cost $1,000 or less each.
  • Energy Star-labeled dishwashers, washing machines, air conditioners, ceiling fans, light bulbs, dehumidifiers and refrigerators will be exempt if they sell for $2,500 or less each.
  • WaterSense-labeled sink faucets, faucet accessories, aerators, shower heads, toilets and landscape irrigation controllers priced at $2,500 or less each will be sales tax-exempt.
All retailers who sell the exempt products will be required to participate in the tax holiday. In addition, retailers may choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any taxable items and pass the savings on to customers.

Online purchases of qualifying products will also be exempt from the sales tax as long as the orders are placed during the Aug. 7-9 exemption period and the sellers have the items available for immediate shipment.

For complete details, visit the Virginia Department of Taxation’s website at






Approval Status Approved


Created at 7/30/2015 5:44 PM by Sharon Fry
Last modified at 8/6/2015 9:46 AM by Paul Lancaster