Reusable Sandwich Bags Do Not Qualify as School Supplies for Virginia Sales Tax Holiday

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

A reusable sandwich bag.

The Virginia Department of Taxation ("Department") recently released a ruling that fabric sandwich bags do not qualify as school supplies for the sales tax holiday in August.

The taxpayer designed and sold insulated fabric sandwich and snack bags and wraps. The bags and wraps were marketed and sold for use in student lunch bags in place of disposable plastic bags. The taxpayer sold the bags and wraps separately from lunch boxes or lunch bags.

Virginia's annual sales tax holiday applies to certain school supplies and clothing. "School supplies" are items that are commonly used by students in the course of study. Official guidelines provide an all-inclusive list of school supplies that qualify for the holiday exemption. The list includes lunch boxes.

The Department ruled that the bags and wraps did not qualify as school supplies. Although the bags and wraps served a similar purpose as lunch boxes, they were not "lunch boxes" as the term was commonly understood. The term "lunch box" typically referred to a small container that was used to transport a person's lunch and that accommodated a sandwich, or other food, and a drink. The reusable bags and wraps only accommodated sandwiches and were therefore not lunch boxes. Because the bags and wraps were not lunch boxes, they were not on the list of qualifying school supplies and thus were not eligible for the sales tax holiday.

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