Sales Tax Holidays: Shop Duty Free in These Two States This Weekend

With prices continue to rise in the United States, buy school supplies may cost a little more this year. A recent CNET poll found that inflation impacts 85% of Americans’ back-to-school shopping plans, with 47% planning to buy only essentials.

A way to try to save money this back-to-school season is with state sales tax holidays. Some states hold tax-free events, usually lasting a few days, where participating states suspend or reduce state and sometimes local sales taxes. The suspended tax breaks only apply to specific categories, such as books, clothing, computers and sports equipment.

While 16 of 18 state sales tax events have already ended, two remain – Connecticut and Maryland. Additionally, five states offer duty-free shopping year-round. See below for details. You can also view our state-by-state map and descriptions below to find out if your state has ever participated and which items were zero-rated.

For more ways to save moneyfind out if your state offers a gasoline tax exemption Where sending tax refund checks.

Dates and tax-free offers this month

Appointment: August 14 to 20, 2022

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item.
  • Backpacks: zero-rated for the first $40 spent.
  • See the full list of items on the Comptroller of Maryland’s website.

Appointment: August 21 to 27, 2022

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item, excluding sports equipment and uniforms.
  • See the full list of items on the Connecticut Department of Revenue website.

States that never have sales tax

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon

Read more: 85% of Americans say inflation is slowing back-to-school shopping

A tax holiday, also known as a weekend or tax-free week, refers to a period during which qualifying items are exempt from sales tax. Some states hold duty-free holidays every year, and a few even hold multiple duty-free events throughout the year. Most states that participate in tax exemptions have an event in the summer that matches back-to-school shopping.

Do tax-free weekends include online sales?

Yes, online purchases for in-state residents made while on their sales tax holiday will be tax exempt, even through major online retailers like Amazon. Just be sure to follow your state’s guidelines for eligible items.

What happens if I purchase an eligible item that exceeds the dollar limit?

This varies by state. In Maryland, for example, the first $40 spent on a backpack is not taxable. If you were to spend $60 on a backpack, you would only be taxed for $20. However, in a state like Massachusetts, if you exceed the price limit – $2,500 for all qualifying purchases – the entire item is subject to sales tax. We recommend reviewing the full list of items and your state’s rules to plan accordingly.

Can you save money shopping during a tax break?

You can save money by avoiding sales tax during a tax holiday, especially in states with high average state and local sales tax rates, such as Tennessee (9.55%), Arkansas (9.51%) and Alabama (9.22%). That said, you’ll want to make sure you stick to a budget to avoid overspending and do your research on back-to-school deals. Some stores may offer lower prices on clothing, supplies, and computers than you might get by paying full price during a tax holiday.

Do all cities in a state with a tax holiday participate?

Most states require all cities and businesses within them to participate in a duty-free vacation. Alabama, Florida and Missouri do not.

Sales tax holidays that have already passed this summer

Appointment: July 15–17, 2002 (passed)

Zero-rated items:

  • Most clothes under $100 – including pants, shirts, shoes, coats and school uniforms – as well as diapers.
  • Sports and recreational equipment and clothing accessories are not included in the tax-free weekend.
  • For the complete list of items, visit the Alabama Department of Revenue.

Appointment: August 6 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item.
  • School accessories: $50 or less per item.
  • Computers and selected school supplies.
  • See the full list of items on the Arkansas Department of Finance and Government website.

Appointment: July 25 to August 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $60 or less per item.
  • Selected accessories: $60 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $15 or less per item.
  • Computers: Tax exempt for the first $1,000 spent.
  • See the complete list of items on the Florida Department of Revenue website.

Appointment: August 5 to 14, 2022 (passed)

Tax Reduced Items

  • School supplies and clothing totaling less than $125 will receive a 5% reduction in sales tax.
  • See the full list of items on the Illinois Department of Revenue website.

Appointment: August 5 to 6, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item, excluding sports equipment, backpacks and handbags.
  • See the full list of items on the Iowa Department of Revenue website.

Appointment: August 13 to 14, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Retail items purchased for personal use (commercial purchases excluded): $2,500 or less, excluding meals, motor vehicles, motor boats, gasoline, electricity, tobacco, marijuana products and alcoholic beverages).
  • See the full list of items on the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website.

Appointment: July 29 to 30, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $100 or less per item.
  • See the full list of items on the Mississippi Department of Revenue website.

Appointment: August 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing: $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $50 or less per item.
  • Computer software: $350 or less per item.
  • Personal computers: $1,500 or less per item.
  • Graphing calculators: $150 or less per item.
  • See the full list of items on the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

Appointment: August 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item.
  • Computers: $1,000 or less per item.
  • Computer software: $500 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $30 or less per item.
  • See the full list of items on the New Mexico Tax and Revenue website.

Appointment: August 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing: $75 or less per item.
  • School supplies and books: $20 or less per item.
  • See the full list of articles on the Ohio Department of Taxation website.

Appointment: August 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item, excluding sports equipment and uniforms.
  • See the full list of articles on the Oklahoma Tax Commission website.

Appointment: August 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothes and shoes.
  • Select accessories.
  • School supplies.
  • Computers.
  • See the full list of articles on the South Carolina Department of Revenue website.

Appointment: July 29 to 31, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item, excluding handbags, jewelry and sporting goods.
  • School and art supplies: $100 or less per item.
  • Laptops, tablets and computers: $1,500 or less per item.
  • See the full list of items on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website.

Appointment: August 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $100 or less per item.
  • See the full list of items on the Texas Comptroller’s website.

Appointment: August 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $20 or less per item.
  • Energy Star, WaterSense and hurricane preparedness items (with qualification limits).
  • See the full list of articles on the Virginia Department of Taxation website.

Appointment: August 5 to 8, 2022 (passed)

Zero-rated items

  • Clothing: $125 or less per item.
  • Some school supplies: $50 or less per item.
  • School books and teaching materials: $20 or less per item.
  • Laptop and tablets: $500 or less per item.
  • Sports equipment: $150 or less per item.
  • See the full list of items on the West Virginia State Department of Taxation website.

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