July 18, 2024
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PERSONAL FINANCE TAX TIMES

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If back-to-school shopping expenses are looming, a "tax-free weekend" in your state might help you save a bundle. Here’s how these special weekends work, the states that offer them, and the items you can purchase sans sales tax.

The Concept Behind Tax-Free Weekends

Most states impose a sales tax on the items you buy, meaning the more you shop, the higher your tax bill. To offer some financial relief, particularly around the back-to-school season, many states suspend sales tax for a weekend. This allows parents and students to purchase essentials such as clothing, laptops, and school supplies without the additional tax burden.

How to Make the Most of It

These tax holidays apply to both in-store and online shopping. Even if an online purchase is delivered after the tax-free weekend, you’ll still benefit from the discount as long as the order was placed during the stipulated dates.

Shopping Limits and Restrictions

Different states have various restrictions on what qualifies for a tax-free purchase. Often, there is a cap on how much each specific item can cost to be eligible. For instance, many states have a $100 limit on clothing items, so a $125 jacket would still incur sales tax on the $25 excess.

Adults and Educators Can Benefit, Too

These tax-free weekends aren’t just for students. Adults can save on electronics and other office supplies, and teachers and childcare professionals can purchase classroom supplies at a lower cost.

No Residency Requirement

You don’t need to live in a state hosting a tax-free weekend to take advantage of it. If you live near a border, you can still benefit by hopping over to the neighboring state.

Spend Wisely

Before you rush to the stores, make a list of what you truly need. The objective is to save money, not end up spending more.

State-Specific Information

Here’s a quick rundown of the tax-free weekends, including the dates, tax rates, and items eligible for tax exemption state-by-state:

Alabama

  • Dates: July 19-21
  • Tax Rate: 4%
  • Eligible Items:
    • School Supplies: $50 or less per item
    • Clothing: $100 or less per item
    • Computers: $750 or less
  • Learn more

Arkansas

  • Dates: Aug. 3-4
  • Tax Rate: 6.5%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing Items: $100 or less
    • Clothing Accessories: $50 or less per item
    • School Supplies including pencils, notebooks, binders, etc.
  • Learn more

Connecticut

  • Dates: Aug. 18-24
  • Tax Rate: 6.35%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing or Shoes: $100 or less per item

Florida

  • Dates: July 29-Aug. 11
  • Tax Rate: 6%
  • Eligible Items:
    • School Supplies: $50 or less per item
    • Clothing or Accessories: $100 or less
    • Learning Aids or Jigsaw Puzzles: $30 or less
    • Computers and Related Accessories for Personal Use: $1,500 or less
  • Learn more

Iowa

  • Dates: Aug. 2-3
  • Tax Rate: 6%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothes and Accessories: $100 or less per item
  • Learn more

Maryland

  • Dates: Aug. 11-17
  • Tax Rate: 6%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing and Shoes: $100 or less per item
    • The first $40 of a Backpack
  • Learn more

Massachusetts

  • Dates: Aug. 10-11
  • Tax Rate: 6.25%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Retail Goods for Personal Use: $2,500 or less
    • The first $175 of a clothing item
  • Learn more

Mississippi

  • Dates: July 12-14
  • Tax Rate: 7%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing, Shoes, or School Supplies: $100 or less per item
  • Learn more

Missouri

  • Dates: Aug. 2-4
  • Tax Rate: 4.225%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothes: $100 or less
    • School Supplies: $50 or less per purchase
    • Computers: $1,500 or less
    • Software: $350 or less
    • Graphing Calculators: $150 or less
  • Learn more

New Jersey

  • Dates: Aug. 24-Sept. 2
  • Tax Rate: 6.625%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothes and Shoes
    • School Supplies
    • Computers under $3,000
    • School Computer Supplies under $1,000
    • Instructional Materials
    • Some Sports and Recreation Equipment
  • Learn more

New Mexico

  • Dates: Aug. 2-4
  • Tax Rate: 5.125%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing or Shoes: $100 or less per item
    • Computers or Tablets: $1,000 or less
    • Computer Hardware: $500 or less
    • School Supplies: $30 or less per item
  • Learn more

Ohio

  • Dates: Aug. 2-4
  • Tax Rate: 5.75%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothes: $75 or less
    • School Supplies and Instructional Materials: $20 or less
  • Learn more

Oklahoma

  • Dates: Aug. 2-4
  • Tax Rate: 4.5%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing or Shoes: $100 or less per item
  • Learn more

South Carolina

  • Dates: Aug. 2-4
  • Tax Rate: 6%
  • Eligible Items:
    • School Supplies, Clothes, and Computers
  • Learn more

Tennessee

  • Dates: July 26-28
  • Tax Rate: 7%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing: $100 or less per item
    • School and Art Supplies: $100 or less per item
    • Computers for Personal Use: $1,500 or less
  • Learn more

Texas

  • Dates: Aug. 9-11
  • Tax Rate: 6.25%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing, Shoes, School Supplies, and Backpacks: $100 or less
  • Learn more

West Virginia

  • Dates: Aug. 2-5
  • Tax Rate: 6%
  • Eligible Items:
    • Clothing: $125 or less
    • Laptop and Tablet Computers: $500 or less
    • School Supplies: $50 or less
    • Sports Equipment: $150 or less
  • Learn more

Where Tax-Free Weekends Don’t Apply

Not every state offers a tax-free weekend. The following states have no such holiday: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Use this guide to plan your tax-free shopping spree and make the most of the savings!

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