State’s school gear exemption list mentally taxing
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 to tinyurl.com/rubberpantshaha 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And then the list uses such outdated expressions.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.