Anyone who needs to do back-to-school shopping for clothes and shoes will save money if they go this Friday or Saturday, thanks to Iowa’s annual Sales Tax Holiday. Kay Arvidson, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Revenue, explains how the 15th annual tax holiday works.

“It begins at the stroke of midnight Friday and runs until midnight on Saturday,” Arvidson says. “It’s always the first Friday and Saturday of August. People can make purchases of clothing and footwear and they do not have to pay sales tax or local option tax on those purchases.”

She says there are a few stipulations about buying items free from taxes during the two-day event. Arvidson says, “This relates to items that cost less than $100 and there is a detailed list on our website at that gives you some ideas about the items that are and are not taxable.” She offers a few examples of items in the gray area that may confuse shoppers. “Jewelry is taxable but certain items of clothing like bowties or blouses or boots, bowling shirts, uniforms, those sorts of things are not taxable,” she explains.

In 2012, retailers statewide reported nearly $15 million in sales during the tax holiday. When multiplied by the 6 percent tax rate, that’s a savings to consumers of about $887,000.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City