By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Local retailers have geared up for Oklahoma’s tax-free weekend that started one minute past midnight today as parents hope to save money on back-to-school clothes.
But tax-exempt status isn’t limited to school wear. Many items — from disposable diapers and uniforms to aprons and earmuffs — are tax exempt during the coming weekend, according to Oklahoma law.
Sooner Mall, 3301 W. Main St., in Norman is extending mall hours for the weekend to meet the demand. The mall will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Visitors also can sign up for special offers and promotions by joining the Club and registering to win one of two $500 mall gift cards The entry box is near Sears.
Major retailers like Walmart also are running back-to-school sales on clothing and school supplies. While school supplies are not tax exempt during Oklahoma’s tax-free weekend, the convenience of buying everything in a single weekend may appeal to many parents looking for bargains.
The sales tax holiday is statewide. The tax exemption ends at midnight Sunday. Oklahoma hosts the sales tax holiday each year to give shoppers an opportunity to purchase clothing and shoes free of state and local sales taxes.
Retailers are required to participate and may not charge tax on items that are legally tax exempt during the sales tax holiday. However, clothing or shoes that cost $100 or more will be taxed. The Oklahoma Legislature passed Senate Bill 861 in 2007 to benefit shoppers and retailers.
Shoppers will still pay taxes on accessories, special clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use and rental of clothing or footwear, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Under the special holiday law, if an item is tax exempt, anyone may make the purchase tax-free.
In the case of a buy-one-get-one-free, the total price must be under the $100 maximum. The exemption depends on the actual price paid for each item.
Items normally costing $100 but discounted for the tax holiday are exempt from taxes.
“This applies to all discounts, even if a retailer’s coupon or loyalty card is required to secure the discount,” according to the OTC.
However, coupons requiring third-party reimbursement are another matter. The original cost of the item will determine if it is eligible for the exemption in this case.
There is good news for people who need to put clothing in layaway. If the item is put into layaway, eligible items qualify for the exemption when final payment on the layaway is made and the item is given to the customer during the exemption period.
Eligible items purchased during the sales tax holiday using a previously issued raincheck qualify for the exemption. If a raincheck issued during the sales tax holiday is redeemed after the sales tax holiday, the purchase is not tax exempt, according to the OTC.
Clothing is defined as “all human wearing apparel suitable for general use,” according to the OTC.
Some types of tax exempt clothing are:
· Aprons, household and shop
· Athletic supporters
· Baby receiving blankets
· Bathing suits and caps
· Beach capes and coats
· Belts and suspenders
· Coats and jackets
· Diapers, children and adult, including disposable diapers
· Ear muffs
· Formal wear
· Garters and garter belts
· Gloves and mittens for general use
· Hats and caps
· Insoles for shoes
· Lab coats
· Rubber pants
· Shoes and shoe laces
· Socks and stockings
· Steel-toed shoes
· Uniforms, athletic and non-athletic
· Wedding apparel