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Opinion: Enjoy Tax Holiday, Donate School Supplies

Good timing to help those in need.

— It is debatable whether recurring tax holidays for different seasonal needs are good policy. But since this weekend is Virginia’s tax holiday on school supplies and clothing, it makes sense to take advantage of the savings, and to spread the wealth around. The savings are more significant this year with the new sales tax increases in effect as of July 1.

This year the tax holiday is Aug. 2-4. During this three-day period, school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from Virginia sales tax. There are some items that do not qualify, for example digital school supplies. See http://www.tax.virginia.gov/ for more details.

When you are buying school supplies for your family, buy extra to donate to local families who are not able to afford to do the same. In Fairfax County, more than 40,000 students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced price meals at school.

In Fairfax County, local nonprofits, Fairfax County Public Schools and corporate partners are collecting school supplies and backpacks. Monetary donations and backpacks are being accepted by eight local nonprofits and through local Apple and Northwest Federal Credit Union Branches, as well as online at http://collectforkids.org/donate/ through Aug. 23. Last year the drive provided supplies for nearly 20,000 students. A $10 cash donation goes a long way.

Nonprofits partnering in this collection effort include Koinonia, New Hope Church, Northern Virginia Family Service, Our Daily Bread, Reston Interfaith, United Community Ministries, Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.

For more, Collect for Kids website at http://collectforkids.org.

FACETS is also collecting contributions of money, school supplies and backpacks. Last year, FACETS gave backpacks filled with supplies to more than 300 needy students. Contact Liz Griffith, Development Coordinator at 703-352-3268 or lgriffith@facetscares.org. See

http://facetscares.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/SchoolSupplyFlyerFY14.pdf