Oklahoma Shoppers Cash In On Sales Tax-Free Weekend


Friday, August 6th 2010, 8:52 am
By: News On 6


By Craig Day and Lacie Lowry, The News On 6

UNDATED -- Oklahoma's sales tax-free weekend is underway. The shopping holiday lasts until midnight on Sunday at all retail stores throughout the state.

The holiday gives back to school shoppers the chance to buy clothing and shoes free of sales tax. That includes both state and local tax.

Like many retail stores, JCPenny in Owasso is packed.

"Everybody is working. Everybody is working," said Mark Anderson, Store Manager.

The statewide tax-free weekend is drawing shoppers who are looking for good deals and are anxious to take advantage of tax free savings.

"I think it is awesome," said Andrea Rothrock, an Owasso mom.

"Pants, shirts, anything I can get," said Crystal Ramos, a Collinsville mom.

Since 2007, Oklahoma has held a tax free weekend to compete with ones offered in surrounding states. 

Abigail Myers is shopping with her sisters and mom. Not having to pay local or state sales tax is a big plus, especially with back to school shopping.

"I think it's a really great opportunity for people," said Abigail Myers, a discount shopper.

The tax-free savings apply to any clothing item priced less than $100.

Accessories like purses, jewelry and wallets don't qualify. 

The break also applies to shoes under $100, except for ones only worn for athletic activities.

See a list of items that are exempt.

"I want sandals, and shoes and slippers," said Jasmine Ramos, who is 5-years-old.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates last year's three day tax-free weekend saved Oklahoman shoppers $6.8 million.

"The tax-free weekend makes a difference," said Derek Wallace, an Owasso resident.

"I think it will help a lot, especially if you have multiple kids to buy for," said Andrea Rothrock, an Owasso mom.

Not only is it great for shoppers, it's also a nice boost for businesses, especially in a down economy.

"It actually is the second largest volume three day period of the entire year," said Anderson.

Retailers are optimistic that will hold true this year too, as Oklahomans begin three days of tax-free bargain hunting.

"This is a really good opportunity. Parents should come out and take advantage of it," said Cecilia Myers, a discount shopper.

"It's really good. We've been having customers come in spurts, which is just the mall for you, but it's been really good actually, really good," said Tia Dunn, Apricot Lane Boutique.

Many sales are tailored to fit the "no-sales tax" requirements -- some pushing the limits to be less than $100.

"I'm looking for a particular pink top to match a skirt and so I came to the mall to see what they had," said Sandie Wood, a shopper.

"Just trying to find stuff, like for school, like clothes, shoes," said Zachary Mounce, a student.

Some shoppers were oblivious to the sales tax holiday.

"He wanted to do some shopping, and we had no idea all of this was going on," said Sean Edwards, a shopper.

Luckily, everyone qualifies for the tax exemption, whether you knew about it or not.

"We were just walking around and we looked at some shoes. We're going to the river this weekend, so I got some crocs. It's crazy," said Jared Weise, a shopper. 

If you don't have a chance to get out this weekend and shop, any online orders placed and processed this weekend are included in the holiday, even if it's not shipped until later.

To help avoid any confusion, Bruce Smith with the Oklahoma Tax Commission explained to The News On 6, what can be purchased and not purchased this weekend to qualify.

"We have a bunch of shirts here. Mom's are going to be shopping, looking for these for the kids so this is ok. It's an item of clothing. So mom sees a purse, sunglasses, and a necklace to wear. No, those are accessories, they do not qualify. It's not an item of clothing," said Bruce Smith.

Before you dump a bunch of school supplies in your basket, remember it is not tax free.

"Back to school items, computers, notebooks, things like that, no," said Bruce Smith.

That includes backpacks.

Tulsa Woodland Hills Mall tax-free weekend hours:

Mall hours: Saturday 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.   Sunday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Tulsa Promenade Mall tax-free weekend hours:

Mall hours: Saturday until 9 p.m.   Sunday: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Dillard's: Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.   Sunday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

JCPenney: Saturday 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.   Sunday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Macy's: Saturday 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.   Sunday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

QUALIFIES FOR TAX-FREE WEEKEND:

  • Any clothing
  • Shoes (including sneakers)
  • Any items priced less than $100 individually

DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR TAX-FREE WEEKEND:

  • Accessories: backpacks, purses, jewelry
  • Any clothing or shoes designed specifically for a sport
  • School supplies: crayons, markers, paper
  • Any individual items costing more than $100 each

Many stores will have a list of what's exempt and what's not exempt. Just remember to ask for a copy before you go shopping.

7/28/2010 Related story: Sales Tax Holiday Set For August 6-8

The City of Tulsa, however, will receive reimbursement from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, so shoppers should take advantage of this opportunity.

In its October 2010 remittance of sales tax, Tulsa also will receive reimbursement for this weekend - calculated by its percentage of sales tax statewide in August 2009.

Tulsa's historical reimbursements have been as follows (paid in October): 2007 - $386,855.18, 2008 - $385,368.68, 2009 - $401,443.14.