Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday

There is just one Arkansas sales tax holiday each year. Some people call it the AR tax free weekend because it always occurs on a Saturday and Sunday.

Plus, like so many other states with tax free shopping weekends, the Arkansas tax holiday focuses on back-to-school shopping.

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Arkansas Tax Free Weekend

The tax free weekend Arkansas in 2023 is August 5-6, 2023. That’s just two days for this sales tax holiday–Saturday and Sunday.

According to state statute, all retailers in Arkansas must participate in this Arkansas sales tax holiday.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration is responsible for overseeing the tax holiday. This year they outlined six categories that would qualify to be exempt from state sales tax.

First, I’ll outline those categories. Then, I’ll get into the nitty gritty of prices and whatnot for each of those categories.

  • Clothing and footwear
  • Clothing accessories and equipment
  • Electronic device
  • School supplies
  • School art supplies
  • School instructional materials

Now onto the specifics

Tax-exempt clothing and footwear

For clothing and footwear to be exempt from you paying taxes, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration says it must be priced under $100 per item.

Here is the state’s roundup of the kinds of clothing and footwear that would qualify, if priced under $100. You may find some surprising items in this list:

  • Aprons, household and shop
  • Athletic supporters
  • Baby receiving blankets
  • Bathing suits and caps
  • Beach capes and coats
  • Belts and suspenders
  • Boots
  • Coats and jackets
  • Costumes
  • Diapers, including disposables
  • Earmuffs
  • Footlets
  • Formal wear
  • Garters and garter belts
  • Girdles
  • Gloves & mittens for general use
  • Hats and caps
  • Hosiery
  • Insoles for shoes
  • Lab coats
  • Neckties
  • Overshoes
  • Pantyhose
  • Rainwear
  • Rubber pants
  • Sandals
  • Scarves
  • Shoes and shoelaces
  • Slippers
  • Sneakers
  • Socks and stockings
  • Steel toed shoes
  • Underwear
  • Uniforms, athletic & non-athletic
  • Wedding apparel

Tax-exempt clothing accessories

When it comes to these tax-exempt clothing accessories, you have to follow the rules carefully. One, everything must be priced under $50. Two, the state defines accessories as “incidental items worn on the person or in conjunction with clothing.

However, it’s probably not what you think. For example, belt buckles don’t qualify. Nor does safety equipment, such as hard hats or breathing masks.

Here is exactly how the state qualifies a clothing accessory for the tax-free weekend:

  • Briefcases
  • Cosmetics
  • Hair notions, including barrettes, hairbows, & hair nets
  • Handbags
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Jewelry
  • Sunglasses, non-prescription
  • Umbrellas
  • Wallets
  • Watches
  • Wigs and hair pieces

Honestly, I’m so confused that cosmetics fall under the exempt status. Also, if you’re shopping for cosmetics that weekend, consider buying cruelty free makeup brands.

Electronic devices that are tax exempt

Arkansas defines an electronic device as something a student commonly uses in the course of studying or attending school. However, it does not specify a price for items that would be included.

Anyway, these so-called electronic devices that you can avoid paying tax on during this holiday include:

  • Calculator Desktop Computer
  • Cellular Phone E-Reader
  • Computer Mouse Laptop Computer
  • Computer Monitor Printer
  • Computer Keyboard Tablet

School supplies

Like the electronic devices mentioned above, Arkansas has not put a price limit on school supplies that you can buy and not pay tax. However, they do have a specific list of what qualifies, plus a detailed description: a school supply is “an item commonly used by a student in a course of study.”

Here is the product definition list:

  • Binders
  • Bookbags
  • Cellophane tape
  • Blackboard chalk
  • Compasses
  • Composition books
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Folders; expandable, pocket, plastic and manila
  • Glue, paste and paste sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Index card boxes
  • Legal pads
  • Lunch boxes
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Paper, including loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board and construction paper
  • Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Protractors
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Writing tablets

If you don’t see something you want to buy on the list, then you should expect to pay tax on it during the tax-free weekend.

School art supplies

Again, like regular school supplies, there is no price limit for school art supplies. Your purchase will be tax exempt if you buy the following:

  • Clay and glazes
  • Paints- acrylic, tempora, and oil
  • Paintbrushes for artwork
  • Sketch and drawing pads
  • Watercolors

School instruction materials

According to Arkansas, the following is a listing of school instructional materials eligible for the holiday exemption.

  • Reference books
  • Reference maps and globes
  • Textbooks
  • Workbooks

If an item is not on the list above, then it remains taxable during the sales tax holiday period.

Shopping at Costco during a sales tax holiday

You may be wondering what happens if you shop at Costco during a sales tax holiday. Well, of course, if you’re shopping in person, then your purchase — if it qualifies for the state sales tax holiday — should be tax free.

However, what if you’re shopping online at Costco or using the Costco app during that same state sales tax holiday? Well, here’s what you need to know.

One, you have to be a Costco member to receive a tax-exempt purchase online.

Two, you won’t get that tax-free discount when you make the purchase online. However, you can ask for it after the fact.

Here’s how Costco describes the process:

“If your order is being shipped to a state with a tax holiday, please email your request to [email protected] with the following subject line: “Sales Tax Holiday Request.”

In the body of the email, we ask that you please include:

  • Your membership number
  • Your first and last name
  • The order number
  • The item submitted for consideration (please include the item number and product description)
  • The state in which the tax holiday occurred
  • Whether this purchase was for personal or business use

Once we get your email, we’ll be happy to issue a credit for tax on any qualifying purchases after the order has shipped. Note: only orders placed during the tax holiday qualify for a tax refund.”

Note that last question: with most state sales tax holidays, items purchased for personal use are the ones that qualify. Business purchases do not.

So, you know what to do.

Final thoughts on the Arkansas tax free weekend

Believe it or not, Arkansas includes wedding apparel in its list of tax exempt clothing during the tax free weekend. The state also includes diapers and underwear.

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Finally, you can find more information on the Arkansas sales tax holiday on the Department of Finance and Administration website.

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