5 THINGS TO KNOW FOR TAX-FREE WEEKEND

Know which items are ex­empt from sales taxes this weekend.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Gary Dinges gdinges@states­man.com

Texas Tax-Free Weekend runs this Friday through Sun­day, of­fer­ing par­ents a chance to save a few bucks while stock­ing up on back-to-school es­sen­tials.

Over the course of the three days, the state an­tic­i­pates Tex­ans will avoid pay­ing $87 mil­lion in sales tax. In most cities, in­clud­ing Austin, shop­pers will save 8.25 cents of tax for each dol­lar spent.

Many re­tail­ers are also mark­ing down pop­u­lar items to lure you through their doors, which means even big­ger sav­ings in many cases.

Be­fore you hit the mall, here are five things you should know about Texas Tax-Free Weekend:

What you’ll spend. The Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion an­tic­i­pates the av­er­age Amer­i­can with chil­dren in grades kinder­garten through 12th will spend $687.72 this year. That’s the sec­ond-high­est num­ber on record.

Not every­thing is in­cluded. Only el­i­gi­ble school sup­plies and cloth­ing priced at un­der $100 each are tax free. (See a full list at tex­as­tax­hol­i­day.org.) You’ll still pay taxes on big-ticket items such as com­put­ers.

Ex­tended hours. Most Cen­tral Texas shop­ping cen­ters, as well as stand­alone big-box re­tail­ers such as Kohl’s, are ad­just­ing their hours this weekend. Bar­ton Creek Square Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Satur­day: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sun­day: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Lake­line Mall

Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Satur­day: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun­day: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tanger Out­lets San Mar­cos

Friday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Satur­day: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun­day: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

San Mar­cos Pre­mium Out­lets

Friday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Satur­day: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun­day: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Round Rock Pre­mium Out­lets

Friday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Satur­day: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun­day: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Shop early, shop late.

Take ad­van­tage of those ex­tended hours to avoid the crowds. Midday is the busiest time, re­tail­ers say, so plan on go­ing first thing in the morn­ing or late at night if you want some breath­ing room. Head on­line. The tax hol­i­day, which got its start in 1999, isn’t lim­ited to brickand-mor­tar shops. On­line re­tail­ers shouldn’t be col­lect­ing sales tax on el­i­gi­ble items this weekend, ei­ther, ac­cord­ing to the state.

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