Skip to Content

 

View Our Expenses

Return to normal view

Sales Tax Holiday Questions for Consumers

General Information

What is a sales tax holiday?

A sales tax holiday is a temporary period when sales taxes are not collectible or payable on all or a specific class of purchases.

When do Virginia's sales tax holidays take place?

The three-day sales tax holiday for school supplies and clothing begins at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in August, and ends at midnight on the following Sunday. The four-day holiday for Energy Star qualified products begins at 12:01 a.m. on the Friday that falls before the second Monday in October, and ends at midnight on the second Monday in October. The seven-day holiday for hurricane preparedness equipment begins at 12:01 a.m. on May 25 and ends at midnight on May 31.

Where can I find information on the exempt items?

Detailed descriptions and lists of exempt items are provided on the information pages for each sales tax holiday: School Supplies and Clothing; Energy Star Qualified Products; and Hurricane Preparedness Equipment.

Will items rented during the sales tax holiday also qualify for the exemption?

No. Rental items will not be eligible for the exemption, regardless of whether the items are rented out and paid for during the sales tax holiday period.

Special Topics

Custom Orders

I wish to custom order a specific eligible item during the sales tax holiday. Will this order qualify for the sales tax holiday exemption?

If a vendor places a special order for a customer that must be custom-made or manufactured for future delivery after the holiday, the merchandise will not be considered as available for immediate delivery, and the transaction will not be eligible for the holiday sales tax exemption

Gift Certificates

May I use a gift certificate to reduce the price of an item in order to make that item eligible for the exemption?

No. A gift certificate may not be used to reduce the cost price of an item in order to make that item eligible for exemption. However, eligible items sold and delivered during the sales tax holiday period using a gift certificate will qualify for the exemption.

Incorrect Charge for Tax

If a retailer erroneously charges me tax on a qualifying exempt item during the sales tax holiday, under what process can I obtain a refund?

In order to obtain a refund of tax paid in error, a customer must return to the store with his sales receipt and obtain a refund from the retailer. The retailer can claim a credit for the tax refunded to customers on his sales and use tax return, provided he remitted the tax to TAX.

Internet Purchases

I wish to purchase an eligible item during the sales tax holiday over the Internet. Will this order qualify for the sales tax holiday exemption?

Yes. Items purchased over the Internet will be treated as exempt if 1) the item is both delivered to and paid for by the customer during the exemption period; or 2) the customer orders and pays for the item and the seller accepts the order during the exemption period for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period.

Layaway Transactions

If I place an eligible item on layaway during the sales tax holiday period, will that item be subject to sales and use tax?

No. The sale of an eligible item under a layaway sale is exempt from tax if the purchaser selects the item and the retailer accepts the order for the item during the holiday period, even if delivery and/or final payment occurs after the holiday period. Subsequent payments are also exempt from sales tax. Items placed on layaway prior to the sales tax holiday will only be eligible for the sales tax holiday exemption if final payment is made and the property is given to the purchaser during the exemption period. 

Mail Order Purchases

I wish to purchase an eligible item by mail order during the sales tax holiday. Will this order qualify for the sales tax holiday exemption?

Yes. Items purchased by mail order will be treated as exempt if 1) the item is both delivered to and paid for by the customer during the exemption period; or 2) the customer orders and pays for the item and the seller accepts the order during the exemption period for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period.

Rain Checks

If I purchase an eligible item using a rain check during the sales tax holiday, will that item qualify for the exemption?

Yes. An item purchased pursuant to a rain check will be eligible for the exemption if the item is purchased during the sales tax holiday period, regardless of when the item is actually delivered. If the item purchased pursuant to a rain check is purchased prior to or subsequent to the sales tax holiday, the exemption will not apply, even if the item is actually delivered during the sales tax holiday period.

Rebates

May I use a rebate to reduce the price of an item so that it will qualify for the sales tax holiday exemption?

No. A rebate occurs after a sale and does not constitute a reduction in sales price. The amount of the rebate is not considered when determining whether an item is eligible for an exemption.

Returns and Exchanges

If I purchase an eligible item during the sales tax holiday, and return it after the sales tax holiday, must I then pay sales tax on the exchanged item?

If a customer purchases an item of eligible property during the exemption period, but later exchanges the item for a similar eligible item, even if a different size, different color, or other feature, no additional tax is due, even if the exchange is made after the exemption period. If a customer purchases an item of eligible property during the exemption period, but after the exemption period has ended, the customer returns the item and receives credit on the purchase of a different item, the appropriate sales tax is due on the sale of the newly purchased item. If a customer purchases an item of eligible property before the exemption period, but during the exemption period, the customer returns the item and receives credit on the purchase of a different item of eligible property, no sales tax is due on the sale of the new item if the new item is purchased during the exemption period.

Telephone Purchases

I wish to purchase an eligible item during the sales tax holiday by telephone. Will this order qualify for the sales tax holiday exemption?

Yes. Items purchased by telephone will be treated as exempt if 1) the item is both delivered to and paid for by the customer during the exemption period; or 2) the customer orders and pays for the item and the seller accepts the order during the exemption period for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period.

Two-for-One Pricing

I would like to purchase two school supply items that the dealer has advertised as a buy-one-get one free special. The regular cost of each item is $29.95. Since the items are being offered as buy-one-get one free, may I average the cost of the two items together so that they will then fall under the threshold and be eligible for the exemption?

No. Where items are sold under a "buy one, get one free" or "buy one, get one for a reduced price" special, a retailer cannot average the total price of items advertised as buy one, get one free/for a reduced price in order to qualify the items for exemption.

Last Updated 5/28/2013 9:9

 

Copyright © 2011 Virginia Department of Taxation. All rights reserved.      Contact Us  |  Web Policy  |  WAI Compliant