Virginia’s Sales Tax Holiday, a landmark bill passed in 2006 by the Virginia General Assembly, will treat consumers to tax-free shopping August 5-7, 2016.

The Virginia Retail Federation, the statewide advocacy arm of Hampton Roads’ Retail Alliance and Richmond’s Retail Merchants Association, initiated and garnered support for the salestaxsigningphoto2006original Back-to-School Tax Holiday from the General Assembly and then-Governor Tim Kaine. Kaine signed the bill into law in June, 2006.

Last year, the legislature combined three separate Sales Tax Holidays into one weekend. The combined tax holiday applies to items previously covered in the Hurricane Preparedness, Back to School, and Energy Star/Water Sense Tax Holidays.

“This tax holiday saves consumers six percent on qualified items in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia and 5.3% in the rest of the state,” said Ray Mattes, CEO and President of Retail Alliance. “When families are shopping for several children or looking to save on big-ticket items like appliances and generators, the holiday is a big boost to their pocketbooks. The tax-free savings have been in place since before the last recession and have helped hard-working families through some tough years.” Plus, he noted that many retailers will put additional items on sale in their stores during the weekend.

“MacArthur Center experienced increased traffic during last year’s sales tax holiday weekend and we expect the same this year,” commented James M. Wofford, General Manager of MacArthur Center in Norfolk. “It’s a chance for parents to begin their kids back-to-school shopping and also take advantage of tax savings on items not normally purchased this early in the season.”

Detailed lists of the tax-free items on the Virginia Department of Taxation website,  At the site, consumers can view detailed lists of required tax-free items:

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that families are more optimistic about spending this year. With back-to-school spending on a “stock up” cycle rather than a “make do” cycle, the average family is expected to spend more freely on school and college supplies this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. Total spending for K-12 and college is expected to reach $75.8 billion, up from last year’s $68 billion.


About Retail Alliance

Retail Alliance, formerly known as the Retail Merchants Association of Tidewater, is a non-profit trade association serving the interests of local retailers in Greater Hampton Roads. The organization promotes and supports the healthy growth of retail businesses and trade through education, advocacy and member benefits.

About Virginia Retail Federation

The Virginia Retail Federation’s mission is to proactively represent and support the legislative interests of Virginia retailers at the Federal, State and local levels. To learn more about VRF, visit, follow us on twitter @VARetailFed, or on Facebook.