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State sales tax holiday season 2017 is in full swing!

Alabama kicked off the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday 2017 season on July 21. Mississippi's and Tennessee's weekend events are at the end July. The 13 other summer sales tax savings periods aren't until August.

The reconfigured table below — it's still alphabetical, but the immediately upcoming back-to-school tax holidays are now in bold type and once a state's tax holiday is over, it will be moved to the bottom of the listing — will help you keep track of the remaining sales-tax-free shopping days.

Back to School Tax Holiday blackboard notice_Florida Department of Revenue

With July half-way over, parents, students and especially retailers are variously anticipating and dreading school starting again.

I'll leave it those with kids to describe their attitudes. But I do know that for businesses, summer slipping away means that it's time for the annual back-to-school sales tax holidays.

Tax holidays are a temporary reduction or elimination of a tax. For the summer's back-to-school events and other similar holidays that some states hold at other times of the year, state sales taxes (or a percentage of them) are not collected on certain items.

Local sales taxes also usually are also waived.

But in some states, cities and counties are given the option to opt out of the tax holiday.

Bad tax policy, good shopping hook: These temporary tax cuts are appealing to shoppers. But let's get this out the way right now. Tax holidays might get more shoppers in stores, but they cost states much needed revenue.

That's why this year Georgia lawmakers decided to cancel the Peach State's tax-free shopping weekend. Massachusetts, which typically waits until the last minute to decide whether to hold a tax holiday, might go two straight years without a tax holiday.

And Louisiana is still giving its shoppers only partial tax savings during its tax holiday.

Still, shoppers love getting any bargains, especially when they're at the expense of the tax collector.

Most retailers are tax holiday fans, too, saying the events boost sales. (That's arguable. Many studies show that tax holidays simply cause consumers to shift their shopping trips.)

In the end, however, each year a handful of states hold tax holidays. Why? Because political considerations trump fiscal concerns.

Politicians who OK the tax-free events know that tax holiday shoppers are possible voters.

2017's state and local summer sales tax holidays: So exactly where are legislators pandering to their shopping constituents this year?

The table below has the alphabetical list of 2017 state and local sales tax holidays. Links provide more details directly from each participating state's tax department.

State sales tax rate shown
Local taxes also may be waived
(Click links for more details)

Holiday Dates Tax-free products
and per-item price limits
(Click links for more details)
Connecticut 6.35% Aug. 20-26 Clothing and footwear
priced at $100 or less

  Tax Holiday Completed  
Alabama 4% July 21-23 Clothing priced at $100 or less Books priced at $30 or less
School supplies at $50 or less Computers and software priced at $750 or less

Mississippi 7%  July 28-29 Clothing, footwear $100 or less
 School supplies $100 or less
Computers $1,500 or less

Tennessee 7% July 28-30  Clothing, footwear $100 or less
 School supplies $100 or less
Computers $1,500 or less

Iowa 6%  Aug. 4-5  Clothing and footwear
priced at less than $100

Louisiana 5%  Aug. 4-5  Most personal property
sold for $2,500 or less
qualifies for a 2% sales tax reduction meaning the holiday
tax rate is 3% instead of 5%

Florida 6%  Aug. 4-6

 Clothing at $100 or less
School supplies $50 or less
Computer software $350 or less
Personal computers and peripheral devices costing
$1,500 or less

Missouri 4.225%  Aug. 4-6  Clothing at $100 or less
School supplies $50 or less
Computer software $350 or less
Personal computers and peripheral devices costing $1,500 or less

New Mexico 5.125%   Aug. 4-6  Clothing or shoes $100 or less
Computers $1,000 or less
Computer hardware $500 or less School supplies $30 or less

Ohio 5.75%  Aug. 4-6  Clothing priced at $75 or less
School supplies and
school instructional material
priced at $20 or less

Oklahoma 4.5%  Aug. 4-6  Clothing and footwear
priced at $100 or less
South Carolina 6%    Aug. 4-6  No purchase price limit
on clothing, accessories and footwear; school supplies; computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software; and bed linens and bath furnishings

Virginia 4.3% Aug. 4-6   Clothing and footwear
 priced at $100 or less
School supplies $20 or less
Energy Star & WaterSense products priced at
$2,500 or less
Hurricane preparedness items
from $60 to $1,000 or less depending on product

Arkansas 6.5%  Aug. 5-6  Clothing $100 or less
Apparel accessories $50 or less
No dollar limit on school and
art supplies or
instructional materials

Texas 6.25%  Aug. 11-13 Clothing, footwear, backpacks
priced at less than $100
School supplies at less than $100

Maryland 6% Aug. 13-19 Clothing and footwear
priced at $100 or less

     

If your state is holding a sales tax holiday, make your list before you head to your local shopping center. That's one of my tips on how to make the most of tax holidays.

Remember, too, that if you're going to another state to pick up some tax-free items, you'll still owe a use tax when you get those goods back home.

Happy shopping and happier sales tax savings!

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