State’s school gear ex­emp­tion list men­tally tax­ing

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST / TELEVISION - Buckle (taxed) down and email: jchrist­man@arkansason­ What’s in a Dame is a weekly re­port from the woman ’hood.

My fa­vorite week­end of the year — the first one in Au­gust — is al­most here!

The Arkansas Sales Tax Hol­i­day! When state and lo­cal taxes will not be col­lected on var­i­ous back-toschool cloth­ing, equip­ment, ac­ces­sories and sup­plies. This year’s event be­gins at 12:01 a.m. Satur­day and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sun­day. (I’ve al­ways won­dered why they be­gin this af­ter mid­night when most stores are closed. And why they end it at al­most mid­night on Sun­day, when sev­eral stores aren’t open and the ones that are close at 6 p.m.)

I might not have kid­dies head­ing back to class (kit­ties Kate and Pippa are home­schooled). And I might not have a burn­ing — lit­er­ally, it’s hot out there, peo­ple! — de­sire to shop.

But I do love re­vis­it­ing the list of tax-ex­empt items for im­ma­ture gig­gles. Join me. I’ve short­ened the Depart­ment of Fi­nance and Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s link for your con­ve­nience to­ber­pantshaha be­cause it never ceases to amuse me that the list of tax-ex­empt cloth­ing in­cludes rub­ber pants … ha ha! (But if you want to buy a rub­ber wet­suit, fins or waders, sorry, those are listed as tax­able.)

The list is bro­ken down into sec­tions: cloth­ing (less than $100 per item), ac­ces­sories (less than $50 per item), school sup­plies, art sup­plies and in­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als.

Its pur­pose, ac­cord­ing to a link that once ap­peared on the Arkansas House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives web­site: “The 88th Gen­eral Assem­bly passed Act 757 in 2011 in or­der to pro­vide Arkansas fam­i­lies a tax break when buy­ing back to school clothes and sup­plies for their chil­dren.”

But why does the list, if in­tended to ben­e­fit stu­dents dur­ing their school year, seem so adult (garter belts, brief­cases)?

And so in­fan­tile (baby receiving blan­kets, “di­a­pers, in­clud­ing dis­pos­ables”)?

And so un­sea­sonal (bathing suits and caps, beach capes)?

And so re­dun­dant (not just “hosiery” but “socks” and “panty­hose” and “stock­ings” and “footlets.” And not just “shoes,” but “san­dals” and “sneak­ers” and “steel­toed shoes”)?

The al­leged back-toschool list also can seem so ir­rel­e­vant. Af­ter all, it’s not third-graders but rather 30-year-olds look­ing for “wed­ding apparel.” And good luck find­ing a gown for $99.99 or less to meet the tax-free cri­te­ria. Same goes for “for­mal wear.”

And then the list uses such out­dated ex­pres­sions. I have a no­tion that the term “hair no­tions” to de­scribe head­bands and hair bows (in­cluded on the tax-ex­empt list) hasn’t been used since “shoul­der pads” (on the tax­able list) were in style. Oh wait, that’s listed un­der “Sport or Recre­ational Equip­ment, so they mean the goalie kind, not the Golden Girls kind. Go ahead and kick me with an ath­letic shoe (tax-ex­empt). But it bet­ter not be a “cleated or spiked” ath­letic shoe, or you’ll be pay­ing tax.

Which brings us to the list’s odd way of sep­a­rat­ing sim­i­lar items. Cos­tumes? Tax-ex­empt. Cos­tume masks sold sep­a­rately? Taxed. Belts? Tax-ex­empt. Belt buck­les like Western ones sold sep­a­rately? Taxed. Hats and caps? Tax-ex­empt. Hard hats or hel­mets? Taxed. Ear muffs? Tax-ex­empt. Ear and hear­ing pro­tec­tors? Taxed. “Gloves & mit­tens for gen­eral use?” Tax-ex­empt. “Pro­tec­tive Gloves” and “Gloves — base­ball, bowl­ing, box­ing, hockey, and golf?” Taxed. Boots? Tax-ex­empt. Ski boots? Taxed.

Mak­ing “Lone Ranger moon­light­ing as a con­struc­tion worker on an ice-hockey/ski trip” the most ex­pen­sive Hal­loween out­fit ever.

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