Summer’s only half-over but it will be September and “back to school” time before you know it. During the August countdown to classes, both students and parents often feel a bit of anxiety about the upcoming fall term, and what it may require. Outfitting kids with cool new clothes (including uniforms and athletic gear) that won’t embarrass them, along with snazzy backpacks, notebooks, and all the other school supplies adds up, but it’s the laptops and computer accessories they need nowadays that really can put severe strains on household budgets.

Fortunately for penny-pinched parents, our state government grants us an annual New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax Holiday weekend, this year running from Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5. During the weekend-long holiday, the state does not collect state sales taxes on a wide variety of qualifying items. Not only that, but many merchants will voluntarily absorb the taxes on non-qualified items too, which makes it an even better opportunity to get what is needed.

It’s important to note that qualifying items are divided into general categories, each one having different conditions, including the maximum amount that can be spent on single items in order to be covered. For instance, clothing or shoes must be cost less than $100 per item. The upper price limit is $1,000 for computers: desktops, laptops, tablets or notebooks; and for related hardware, $500. General education school supplies must remain under $30 per unit. The categories, however, are generous, covering a broad range of clothing, school, and office supplies. This is thus a beneficial opportunity for non-students, such as entrepreneurs or those running home businesses to stock up, too.

However, there are items specifically excluded by statute in each category with some odd distinctions. For example, under computers, blank CDs are not taxable but recorded ones are. Scanners, video cameras, software manuals, headsets, and joy sticks are likewise always taxable. The complete list of taxable and non-taxable items (in PDF format) can be found here, and full details of the statute, also in PDF, are here.

Remember, the tax holiday lasts just one weekend only, but all weekend long (from midnight Thursday to midnight Sunday). Take advantage of it to outfit yourself, your kids, or to upgrade your stuff.