Friday, August 6, 2010
Back To School Tax Holiday Covers Adults, Too
The Department's been publicizing a long and bizarre (correction fluid? Twice?) list of school supplies exempt from the state's 5 percent share of sales tax through Aug. 15. Legislators wanted to give families a break on back to school kids' clothing, too, however. The question is, what's back to school clothing? For that matter what's kids' clothing?
A manager at one local bigbox store said he had no idea. "We just get in the lists from (headquarters) and load them into the computer," he said. A spokesman at headquarters had no idea, either. "There are, I've got a list here, let me see," she said. "I've got 14 states plus Illinois having a sales tax holiday. Can I call you back?" But she never did.
If she had, the answer would have been there's no practical way to separate kids' back to school clothes from all the rest. "What if you have a son who wears the same size clothing as you do?" asked Department of Revenue spokesman Susan Hofer. "You can't differentiate it."
The best anyone could do was limit the tax break to pretty much any article of clothing, any size, that costs less than $100 each. Dolce and Gabbana shirts and Manolo Blahnik slingbacks won't make the cut but just about any reasonably priced clothing will and it doesn't matter if it's for kids or adults. "It's the way the world works," said Hofer.
Almost, anyway. The list of exempt clothing is a little odd, too. It covers everything from underwear to winterwear including suspenders (? again) but there's one item strangely absent. Even though Halloween candy is already on retailer shelves, don't try to buy any sales tax-exempt sweaters. They aren't listed either way.
Here's the latest no-tax shopping list from the Department of Revenue: http://www.revenue.state.il.us/SalesTaxHolidayList.pdf