No Education Without Taxation: Parents and Teachers Pay Up Ahead of Back-To-School
It’s a busy time of year for parents, students, and retailers. Depending on your perspective, the back-to-school shopping season is either dreaded or celebrated. For families with children it can also be a source of anxiety given the expense.
In a number of US states lawmakers have attempted to give parents a break as they head out to buy new outfits, pens, pencils, and notebooks. Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio all offer sales-tax free weekends as the calendar moves toward the new school year. Others, such as Illinois, offer reduced tax rates.
The Illinois Approach
As opposed to a tax-free weekend, Illinois has reduced taxes on certain types of back-to-school purchases through August 14. The 10-day period is designed to relieve families as well as educators, given many teachers report buying a significant amount of their own supplies.
During the 10 days purchases are taxed at a rate of 1.25% — down from the normal 6.25%. There are eligibility rules, meaning the supplies have to be for school use. Any purchase above $125 also does not qualify, including things like sports equipment.
Many educators say they spend hundreds of dollars each year out of pocket to keep classrooms properly stocked. This can include things like hand soap, tissues, and wet wipes. Others explain small snacks and posters, bulletin boards, and notebooks make up their classroom shopping list. For many educators, they attribute it to the cost of being a good teacher.
In Virginia, new legislation allows teachers to take a $500 tax deduction if they buy their own supplies. Still, members of the teachers union counter that amounts to around $30 each year in savings. With all the dollars and cents factored into back-to-school spending, it’s enough to make you wish you paid closer attention during math class.
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