Special to the Bulletin

AUSTIN — Comptroller Susan Combs announced that the date for the annual sales tax holiday has changed from the first weekend of August to the third weekend of August. Combs also said backpacks, a standard item on many kids’ school supply lists, can now be purchased tax free during the sales tax holiday.

“From now on, the sales tax holiday will occur on the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday of August,” Combs said. “This year, the date is Aug. 17-19.”

Since many school districts are now starting their school year later, the 80th Legislature changed the date of the sales tax holiday to move it closer to the first day of school.

During the sales tax holiday, children’s and adults’ clothing and shoes priced less than $100 — and now backpacks that cost less than $100 — are exempt from state and local sales taxes.

“The Legislature responded to parents’ requests to add backpacks to the list of tax-exempt items,” Combs said. “Backpacks can be expensive, especially for parents who have to buy them for several children. A tax break helps.”

Combs also announced that, starting in May 2008, energy-efficient appliances will be exempt from sales tax during the three-day Memorial Day weekend. Certain appliances with a federal Energy Star rating will be tax-free, including washing machines, dishwashers, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats and incandescent fluorescent light bulbs. Air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less and refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less can also be purchased tax free.

“Texas consumers will save about $8 for every $100 they spend on qualifying appliances,” Combs said. “Even more importantly, they will reap savings on their utility bills by purchasing energy-efficient appliances, and the demand for electricity will be reduced.”

The Comptroller predicts families will save about $52.1 million in sales taxes during the August sales tax holiday.

More information about the August sales tax holiday for clothing and shoes can be found on the Comptroller’s Web site at www.window.state.tx.us.