A recent national survey found that families will spend an average of $630 this year to get their children ready to head back to school.

That estimate includes what families plan to spend on clothes, supplies, and electronics.

That substantial cost to families this time of year is why the General Assembly passed Act 757 in 2011. This act provides a sales tax holiday the first weekend of August. The holiday means state and local taxes are not collected or paid on the purchase of certain items.

Sponsors of the bill noted at the time that neighboring states already had a sales tax holiday in place. Members passed the bill in hopes of encouraging Arkansans to do their shopping at home.

Arkansas is now one of 18 states across the country to offer a sales tax holiday.

This year’s sales tax holiday will begin at 12:01 am on Saturday, August 6 and end at 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 7.

Currently, the state sales tax is 6.5%. City and local taxes vary across the state.

During the sales tax holiday, retailers will not be allowed to collect sales tax on clothing and footwear if the sales price is less than one hundred dollars ($100) per item; clothing accessories and equipment if the sales price is less than fifty dollars ($50) per item; school supplies; school art supplies; and school instructional materials.

For more information, contact a customer service representative by phone Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (501) 682-7104.

We have also posted a complete list of eligible purchases on our website www.arkansashouse.org .

While we hope this tax break provides relief for Arkansas families, we also hope shopping is just one small part of getting your child ready to go back to school.

Educators recommend starting regular bedtimes and routines a few weeks before school starts. And as always make sure your children are continuing to read throughout the summer.