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Sales tax holidays wrap up July in FL, MS & TN

Back to school sales tax holiday blackboard apple books pencils

Summer's winding down, meaning kiddos soon will be going back to school. But before they head to their classrooms, they'll need a few things.

Three Southern states are focusing on families with such shopping lists. Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee are closing out July with back-to-school tax holidays.

The longest is Florida's event, which began Monday, July 25, and runs through Sunday Aug. 7.

Sunshine State shoppers can save on purchases of clothing ($100 or less); school supplies ($50 or less); learning aids and jigsaw puzzles ($30 or less); and computers and certain accessories ($1,500 or less).

Tax holidays in Mississippi and Tennessee start on Friday, July 29, but end on different days.

Mississippi sales tax is waived through Saturday, July 30, for clothing and footwear ($100 or less). Tennessee merchants won't collect sales through Sunday, July 31, on clothing ($100 or less); school supplies ($100 or less); and computers ($1,500 or less).

Tax gimmick vs real savings: Most tax policy experts and economists argue that sales tax holidays typically shift shopping times, rather than induce consumers to spend more.

But with inflation, although abated a bit, factoring into this year's shopping, the holidays might make a difference for some families.

The latest retail overview from the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows that American families are expected to spend around $864 this year on school supplies, slightly up from last year's class-related shopping costs.

The NRF data also indicates increases in the prices of some traditional back-to-school items.

BTS shopping data 2022 National Retail Federation graphic-1

So back-to-school shoppers this year are looking for any kind of break, even if it is just a few dollars on a pair of youngsters' new shoes, or a few more bucks on a temporarily tax-free computer.

More tax holidays to come: Florida's back-to-school holiday extends into August, which is the biggest month for tax breaks on classroom supplies and other items.

Fifteen more states will be holding tax-saving shopping periods in August. They will be in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

My original tax holidays post has details on these upcoming events, as well as some other special ones (mostly in Florida) that extend into 2023 (and beyond).

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