Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn today announced that Texas’ annual opportunity to shop tax-free for clothes and shoes starts today and runs through Sunday.

Strayhorn predicted Texas families will save $49 million in sales taxes during the eighth annual Sales Tax Holiday. The estimated savings include $38.5 million in state sales tax and $10.5 million in local sales taxes.

“I love the Sales Tax Holiday,” Strayhorn said. “It’s the one time hard-working Texans keep their money in their pockets for their families’ priorities.

“This tax break is real and it is available to everyone,” Strayhorn said. “Families save about $8 for every $100 they spend on school clothes for the kids and new outfits for mom and dad.”

“I have repeatedly asked the Legislature to add backpacks and school supplies to the Sales Tax Holiday, along with kids’ safety gear such as bicycle helmets and car safety seats, and also sewing supplies such as fabric, buttons and zippers for families that make their clothes,” Strayhorn said.

“Regrettably, the Legislature has not acted upon my recommendations, and requests from parents across this state, to add backpacks and school supplies to the Sales Tax Holiday to help reduce the cost of getting the kids ready for back-to-school,” Strayhorn said.

“And I want to extend the Sales Tax Holiday from three days to five days, so we don’t have a three-day traffic jam,” Strayhorn said. “I also support creating a second Sales Tax Holiday during December to help families stretch their holiday shopping budgets. And I want to ease the sticker shock of buying college textbooks by exempting them from sales tax year round.”

During the Sales Tax Holiday, most clothing and footwear priced under $100 are tax-free. Examples of items that can be purchased tax-free August 4-6 include kids’ clothes and school uniforms, adults’ clothes and work uniforms, shoes--including tennis shoes, socks and underwear. Items that cannot be purchased tax-free include handbags and wallets, jewelry, accessories, and athletic shoes, uniforms and safety gear. Backpacks and school supplies are not exempt from sales tax.

Shoppers saved an estimated $47.4 million in state and local sales taxes during the 2005 Sales Tax Holiday. Since Strayhorn implemented the first Sales Tax Holiday in 1999, taxpayers have saved $287 million, including $226 million in state sales tax and $61 million in local sales taxes.

On the Net:

More information about the Sales Tax Holiday, including a list of tax-exempt items, can be found on the Comptroller’s Web site at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html