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2021's final three back-to-school tax holidays are underway this Aug. 14 weekend

UPDATED, Aug. 14, 2021: This post was published originally on July 15 in advance of the 2021 back-to-school state sales tax holiday season. Now, almost a month later, the 2021 sales tax holiday season wraps up this weekend with three events.

Connecticut's and Massachusetts' no-tax events started today. Maryland's week-long tax holiday ends at the stroke of midnight tonight.

You can find more on each state's tax holiday in the table below. It has details and handy links for all 18 of this summer's tax-free shopping events, whether completed or finally under way.

Back to school sales tax holiday blackboard apple books pencils

It's mid-July, a particularly important date this year for parents.

No, I'm not talking about the Advance Child Tax Credit payments that started going out today. I'm talking about the imminent arrival of the 2021-22 school year.

With the COVID-19 pandemic somewhat under control — Be gone, Delta variant and everyone please get vaccinated! — schools across the country will be opening this year.

Yes, that sound you hear over the internet is millions of parents celebrating.

Tax holidays, too: That other sound you hear is taxpayers, both parents and child-free, celebrating, too, because the annual back-to-school tax holidays also are on the horizon.

This year, 17 states and Puerto Rico are holding the state and, in many cases, local sales-tax-free events.

Alabama and the U.S. territory Puerto Rico kick off the summer, back-to-school no-tax season this weekend. The Yellowhammer State's tax-free weekend is this Friday, July 16 through Sunday, July 18. The no-tax event in America's Caribbean island is Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17.

Similar tax-free days are scheduled for the end of July in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The remaining dozen 2021 back-to-school (and more in a couple of places) tax holidays are in August, nearer the kiddos actual return to classrooms … of course following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's recently updated guidance for educators.

The table below offers highlights of each holiday, along with links to state (and territory) tax department material that has specifics about the no-tax shopping days.

 

2021 State Sales Taxes Holidays

State & Sales Tax Rate
Local taxes also may be waived

Holiday Days
& Dates

Tax-Free Products
& Per-Item Price Limits

Alabama 4%

Friday, July 16
through
Sunday, July 18

Clothing priced at $100 or less
Books priced at $30 or less 

School supplies at $50 or less
Computers & software priced at $750 or less
Alabama counties and municipalities can decide whether to participate and exempt their taxes, or continue to add the amounts to sales during the tax holiday period. This list has specifics on where shoppers will get a tax break or pay.

Arkansas 6.5%

Saturday, Aug. 7
through
Sunday, Aug. 8

Clothing $100 or less
Apparel accessories $50 or less
No dollar limit on school art supplies, school instructional materials, school supplies, and school-related products such as electronic devices, which includes computers, commonly used by a student in a course of study

Connecticut 6.35%

Sunday, Aug. 15
through
Saturday, Aug. 21

Clothing & footwear
priced at $100 or less

Florida 6%

Saturday, July 31
through
Monday, Aug. 9

Clothing at $60 or less
School supplies $15 or less
Computers, certain accessories selling for $1,000 or less

Iowa 6%

Friday, Aug. 6
through
Saturday, Aug. 7 

Clothing & footwear
priced at less than $100

Maryland 6%

Sunday, Aug. 8
through
Saturday, Aug. 14

Clothing & footwear
priced at $100 or less
First $40 of a backpack sale price is tax-free 

Massachusetts 6.25%

Saturday, Aug. 14
through
Sunday, Aug. 15

Not limited to traditional school items; No tax on almost every personal item priced at $2,500 or less

Mississippi 7%

Friday, July 30
through
Saturday, July 31

Clothing, footwear and school supplies that cost $100 or less per item; school supplies are items commonly used by a student in a course of study

Missouri 4.225%

Friday, Aug. 6
through
Sunday, Aug. 8 

Clothing at $100 or less
School supplies $50 or less
Personal computers costing $1,500 or less, as well as graphing calculators valued at $150 or less and computer software having a taxable value of $350 or less

New Mexico 5.125%

Friday, Aug. 6
through
Sunday, Aug. 8

Clothing or shoes $100 or less
Computers $1,000 or less
Computer hardware $500 or less School supplies $30 or less

Ohio 5.75%

Friday, Aug. 6
through
Sunday, Aug. 8

Clothing priced at $75 or less
School instructional materials
& school supplies at $20 or less

Oklahoma 4.5%

Friday, Aug. 6
through
Sunday, Aug. 8

Clothing & footwear that is less than $100 per item

Puerto Rico 11.5%

Friday, July 16
through
Saturday, July 17

Uniforms and associated footwear required by schools
School supplies, including computer media storage material

South Carolina 6%

Friday, Aug. 6
through
Sunday, Aug. 8

No purchase price limit
on clothing accessories & footwear; school supplies; computers, printers & printer supplies, computer software; & bed linens & bath furnishings

Tennessee 7%

Friday, July 30
through 
Sunday, Aug. 1 

Clothing $100 or less
School supplies $100 or less
Computers $1,500 or less

Texas 6.25%

Friday, Aug. 6
through
Sunday, Aug. 8

Clothing, footwear, backpacks
priced at less than $100
School supplies at less than $100
COVID-19 prompted the addition in 2021 of face masks to the clothing tax-free list as long as it is a cloth or disposable fabric face mask with a filter; however, replacement filters are taxable.

Virginia 4.3%

Friday, Aug. 6
through
Sunday, Aug. 8

Clothing & footwear $100 or less
Virginia's multi-product tax holiday covers:
School supplies $20 or less
Energy Star & WaterSense products $2,500 or less
Hurricane preparedness items
priced from $60 to $1,000 or less

West Virginia 6%

Friday, July 30
through
Monday, Aug. 2

Clothing $125 or less
School supplies $50 or less
School instruction material $20 or less
Sports equipment $150 or less
Laptop & tablet computers $500 or less



Double check dates, amounts: I appreciate your giving the table above a look, but do click on the links. Of particular importance are the dates themselves.

Some states start events on a Friday, but end on Saturday instead of running through the full weekend. Others don't start excluding weekend sales tax collection until Saturday.

Also note the details in the links on the eligible and ineligible items. You don't want to head to a store and discover an item you thought was tax free during your state's tax holiday is, in fact, taxable.

In addition to the certain items that are tax free, take note of the price limits. Some states classify things as a certain price or less. Others designate items that are less than.

Yep, getting a few dollars tax savings can be complicated, so be ready. An earlier post on ways to maximize your sales tax holiday savings can help.

So get review the table. Mark your calendars. Make your lists. Then happy tax-free shopping!

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