Tax-free weekend has arrived

Back-to-school shoppers will be able to purchase school supplies and clothing tax free during Virginia’s tax-free holiday, which begins today and runs through Sunday.

School supplies less than $20 and clothing and shoes less than $100 per item are tax exempt. Also on the list are hurricane and emergency preparedness items, including portable generators under $1,000, gas-powered chainsaws $350 or less, and others.

Food Lion sells several items on the state’s approved list, said Don LeMarr, manager for the Strasburg location. He said staff will be increased during the weekend to accommodate the influx of customers.

“(During) the tax-free days we bring more people on because we have multiple items that are tax-free qualified. This location is weird because Shenandoah County doesn’t go back (to school) until Sept. 2.”

Page Tucker, a communications specialist for the Virginia Department of Taxation, explained the reasoning behind the holiday.

“It’s always been the first weekend in August,”‘ she said. “I think the motivation was to help families get ready to go to school and save a little bit of money, and then of course the hurricane and emergency preparedness items was to encourage people to buy items they need to get ready for any emergency. And the others were to encourage people to conserve water and energy.”

She also explained the history of the holiday, which was first instituted in 2006.

“Our first sales tax holiday was in 2006 and it was for the back-to-school supplies and clothing and footwear,”‘ she said. “The next holiday started in 2007 was the Energy Star sales tax holiday and hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday.”

This is the second year in which all categories are consolidated, she said, as the General Assembly voted to combine the categories in 2015. This weekend is the only sales tax holiday during the year in Virginia, so she urged those in need of certain items and in search of a good deal should take advantage while they can.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or


Visit the following Virginia Department of Taxation web pages for lists items included in this weekend’s tax-free holiday:

• School supplies and clothing:

• Hurricane preparedness items:

• Energy-efficient appliances: