Back-to-school shopping time is here, and a sales tax holiday is set for Saturday and Sunday. From 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Arkansans will have the chance to shop tax-free.

The Legislature adopted Act 757 in 2011 that created the sales tax holiday each year the first weekend in August. Language in the legislation explains that buying clothes and school supplies for school children is expensive and the cost continually increases, and therefore the tax holiday was created to help families get ready for going back to school.

Items that are exempt from taxes this weekend will include clothing and footwear if the sales price is less than $100 per item; clothing accessories and equipment if the sales price is less than $50 per item; school supplies; school art supplies; and school instructional materials.

Some unexpected eligible items for exemption during the tax holiday in Arkansas include diapers, girdles, wedding apparel, umbrellas, sunglasses, bath salts, lip gloss and hair wax. A full list of eligible items is available at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration website under the "Sales & Use Tax" section.

Dawn Marie Sullivan, human resource leader at JC Penney in Conway, said back-to-school shopping time is very important to the company’s business, and they look forward to the large turnout this weekend.

"Last year was a phenomenal," she said. "It was a fantastic time. We had a huge increase in our uniform sales for Faulkner County and some from Conway County and Pulaski County. Second to the holiday season, for JC Penney, there’s not a more important time than the back-to-school season."

She said there will be donuts and coffee in the morning and popcorn all day.

"People are going to need that tackling fuel to get them through that shopping experience," she said. "The tax free is just a bonus. I’m working hard to make it a good time."

"Putting aside the tax-free, the back-to-school season starts the last week of July. The tax-free only kicks it up a notch. We had a great week last year, and we expect nothing less this year. Everyone is working. We want to make sure every customer gets every bit of attention they need to make it successful for them and for us."

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