TULSA, Okla. (AP) - For the second consecutive year, back-to-school shoppers in Oklahoma will be able to stock up on school clothing without paying sales taxes.
City, county and state sales taxes will be suspended next weekend during the state's annual sales tax holiday, scheduled from 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1 through midnight Aug. 3.
Last year shoppers saved $6.4 million, according to figures provided by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Shoppers are expected to save up to $6.6 million during this year's holiday.
But Joanne Kurjan, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Tax Commission, said it's hard to predict how many people will take advantage of the three-day event.
“We certainly hope they would because this is something that not only benefits taxpayers, but also businesses in the state,” she said. “It keeps them in the state shopping.”
The idea of a tax-free weekend just in time for back-to-school shopping has long been established in other states including Texas.
In Oklahoma the tax exemption applies to any article of clothing that costs less than $100. However, accessories and special clothing or shoes designed specifically for athletics will be taxed.
Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton, had hoped to add school supplies to the tax-free list, but a bill that would have provided for the exemption died in the Legislature this year.
Barrington said he'll “most definitely” try again next year.
“It should have already been in place,” he said.
The economic impact of the sales tax holiday isn't exactly known. However, cities and counties are reimbursed for their lost tax revenue during the weekend.
Last fall the Oklahoma Tax Commission disbursed to cities and towns more than $114 million in sales taxes that had been collected during August 2007. That's up more than $9 million compared to the roughly $104 million collected the year before.
Kurjan said the increase includes the entire month of collections, not just the tax-free weekend.