The Bulletin

Virginia’s (rescheduled) sales tax holiday is this weekend. Here’s what you can buy.

By: - October 19, 2023 12:00 pm

Shoppers at Short Pump mall outside Richmond, Virginia. (Parker Michels-Boyce for the Virginia Mercury)

After the General Assembly forgot to renew the state’s typical August sales tax holiday during a chaotic and drawn-out budget process, Virginians used to stocking up on tax-free school supplies and other products in one weekend were out of luck.  

Until now. 

Budget amendments passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin this September rescheduled the holiday to this weekend, beginning 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 20 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22.

During that time, shoppers won’t have to pay the state’s 4.3% state tax or any additional local or regional sales taxes on qualifying products, regardless of whether they purchase it in-store or online. 

According to the Virginia Department of Taxation, here’s what’s exempt throughout the holiday. Lists of specific items that qualify can be found here, starting on page 15

Hurricane preparedness items

  • New or used portable generators with a price of $1,000 or less
  • New or used gas-powered chainsaws with a price of $350 or less
  • New or used chainsaw accessories with a price of $60 or less 
  • Other specified hurricane preparedness items, new or used, with a price of $60 or less 

School supplies, clothing, and footwear

  • New or used school supply item with a price of $20 or less
  • New or used clothing or footwear with a price of $100 or less. 
    • However, the department notes that the exemptions don’t apply to “sporting equipment or footwear designed primarily for athletic activity or protective use and not usually considered appropriate for everyday wear.” 
    • Exemptions do apply to all sorts of other apparel, including bathing suits, clerical vestments, corsets, diapers, ear muffs, gloves and mittens, legwarmers, raincoats, steel-toed boots and wedding dresses. 

Energy Star and WaterSense items: 

  • New or used items that: 
    • Meet the requirements of the federal Energy Star or WaterSense programs and are labeled to that effect
    • Are $2,500 or less, and 
    • Are purchased for noncommercial home or personal use


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Sarah Vogelsong
Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is Editor-in-Chief of the Mercury and previously its environment and energy reporter. She has worked for multiple Virginia and regional publications, including Chesapeake Bay Journal, The Progress-Index and The Caroline Progress. Her reporting has won awards from groups such as the Society of Environmental Journalists and Virginia Press Association, and she is an alumna of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and Metcalf Institute Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists.