Attention Back-To-School Shoppers: Sales Tax Holidays Have Arrived
Created in the late 1990s, sales tax holidays have spread across America as a way to both reduce the tax burden on parents who are purchasing school supplies for their children, as well as to encourage business growth.
What is exempt from sales tax varies from state to state, and some states don’t participate at all. County and city governments also have experimented with the concept, and some counties do not follow state-wide sales tax holidays.
To help every parent better navigate the wide array of states with sales tax holidays, what they exempt from sales tax and when, we have compiled a chart below.
We highly recommend that consumers be aware that some studies have suggested sales tax holidays do not provide savings, because some retailers increase prices during those dates. While these holidays may provide families with some savings, every consumer should monitor prices of important schools supplies, computers, and clothing throughout the year to ensure they receive the best possible value.
|State||Items Excluded from Sales Tax||Dates in 2015|
|Alabama||Clothing ($100 or less per article, excluding accessories), computers (single purchases $750 or less on computers, computer software and school computer supplies), school supplies ($50 or less per item) and books ($30 or less per item). Not all counties are participating, so please check the Alabama Department of Revenue website to see if your county is excluding sales tax.||August 7–9|
|Arkansas||Clothing and footwear (less than $100 per item), clothing accessories (less than $50 per item) and school supplies, school art supplies and school instructional materials, including books. Visit the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration site for more details.||August 1–2|
|Florida||Clothing, footwear, and certain accessories ($100 or less per item), school supplies ($15 or less per item), personal computers and certain computer-related accessories (on the first $750 of the sales price) when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use. Note: These sales tax exemptions do not apply to sales made within a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport. Read Florida’s Department of Taxation document on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–16|
|Georgia||Clothing and footwear ($100 or less per item), computers, computer components, and pre-written computer software purchased for noncommercial home or personal use ($1,000 or less per item) and school supplies, school art supplies, school computer supplies, and school instructional materials purchased for noncommercial use ($20 or less per item). See the Georga.gov website for details.||July 31–Aug. 1|
|Iowa||Clothing and footwear (less than $100 per item). This does not include clothing accessories. See the Iowa Department of Revenue site for information on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–8|
|Louisiana||A broad sales tax holiday that applies to purchases of most non-business person property ($2500 or less per item). The state’s department of revenue notes that this only applies to state sales tax and no sales taxes implemented by parishes, municipalities, school boards, and other political subdivisions of the state. Visit the Louisiana Department of Revenue webpage on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–8|
|Maryland||Qualifying apparel and footwear ($100 or less per item) are exempt from the state sales tax. Read the Comptroller of Maryland webpage for details on its sales tax holiday.||August 9–15|
|Mississippi||Clothing and footwear (less than $100 per item). Accessories, such as backpacks, are not included. See the Mississippi Department of Revenue page on its sales tax holiday.||July 31–Aug. 1|
|Missouri||Clothing ($100 or less per item), excluding accessories; school supplies ($50 or less per item); computer software ($350 or less per item); computers/computer peripheral devices ($1,500 or less per item); and graphing calculators ($150 or less per item). Missouri does have cities and counties that may not participate in this sales tax-free period. See the Missouri Department of Revenue page on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–9|
|New Mexico||Clothing or shoes (less than $100 per item); desktop, laptop, tablets, or notebook computers ($1,000 or less); related computer hardware ($500 or less); and school supplies for use in standard, general-education classrooms (less than $30 per item). Visit New Mexico’s Tax and Revenue page on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–9|
|Ohio||Clothing ($75 per item or less), school supplies ($20 per item or less), and school instructional material ($20 per item or less). Visit the Ohio Department of Taxation page on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–9|
|Oklahoma||Clothing and footwear ( less than $100 per item) and excludes accessories, special clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use that is not normally worn except when used for athletic activity or protective use, or to the rental of clothing or footwear. The Oklahoma Tax Commission website has details on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–9|
|South Carolina||Clothing and certain clothing accessories, footwear, school supplies, computers, printers and printer supplies, and computer software. Some bed and bath items are included. The sales tax holiday excludes items used for commercial purposes. Visit the South Carolina Department of Revenue website for more details.||August 7–9|
|Tennessee||Clothing ($100 or less per item), school and art supplies ($100 or less per item), and computers ($1,500 or less per item). The sales tax free holiday excludes computer software and any items for use in a trade or business. See the Tennessee Department of Revenue page for info on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–9|
|Texas||Clothing, footwear, backpacks, and other items (less than $100 per item). Visit the Texas Comptroller’s page on this state’s sales tax holiday.||August 7–9|
|Virginia||Clothing and footwear ($100 or less per item) and school supplies ($20 or less per item). See the Virginia Department of Taxation page on its sales tax holiday.||August 7–9|
Additional Resources for Sales Tax Holidays:
Five U.S. states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon) do not impose general sales taxes. Visit the Tax Foundation website for more information on state taxes. Other states, such as Massachusetts, may wait until the last minute to pass legislation authorizing a sales tax-free holiday. Please consult with your state’s department of revenue or taxation if you have questions about the sales tax.
Born in Boston, MA, Michael Hackmer has lived in the metro Washington, DC region since 1998. He is a single parent to a teenager, enjoys traveling to cities in the U.S. and Latin America, and loves to swim and run. He writes for Learning Liftoff about teenagers and education.