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17 states are holding tax holidays this year, with four in July

Get ready Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee shoppers. Your back-to-school tax holidays are this month. The rest of this year's no-tax shopping events are scheduled for August.

School supplies at HEB_Texas Sales Tax holiday items
Many school supplies, like these at my local grocery store, will be sales-tax-free in Texas later this summer. (Photo by Kay Bell)

Wow! We're into the third week of July already. You know what that means.

School is just around the proverbial corner. And you know what that means.

States are holding their annual sales tax holidays.

There are four this month in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee. A baker's dozen are scheduled for early or mid-August.

Most of these special shopping days are billed as back-to-school events where you can buy tax-exempt items the youngsters need for class.

But even those with that moniker are more expansive. They're not limited to children's clothing. And you don't have to prove that the computer you buy is only going to be used by the kiddos for class work.

So check out the list below. Review the holiday's details; you can do that by clicking on the links in the table.

The table below lists, alphabetically by state, the rest of 2023's upcoming sales tax holidays. The information comes from the various state tax departments, as well as the Sales Tax Institute and Federation of Tax Administrators.

 

2023 State Sales Taxes Holidays

State & Sales Tax Rate
Local sales taxes also may be waived

Holiday Days
& Dates

Tax-Free Products
& Per-Item Price Limits

Alabama 4%

Friday, July 21
through
Sunday, July 23

Clothing $100 or less
Books $30 or less
School supplies $50 or less
Computers & software $750 or less
A list of all eligible (and ineligible) items can be found in this Fact Sheet.
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 continue to pay.

Arkansas 6.5%

Saturday, Aug. 5
through
Sunday, Aug. 6

Clothing $100 or less
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. 20
through
Saturday, Aug. 26

Clothing and footwear $100 or less
Accessories and protective or athletic clothing is still taxed.

Florida 6%

Monday, July 24
through
Sunday, Aug. 6

Clothing $100 or less
School supplies $50 or less
Learning aids and jigsaw puzzles selling for $30 or less
Computers, certain accessories $1,500 or less
More on tax-exempt items during the 2023 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday can be found in TIP No. 23A01-06.

Iowa 6%

Friday, Aug. 4
through
Saturday, Aug. 5 

Clothing and footwear priced at less than $100

Maryland 6%

Sunday, Aug. 13
through
Saturday, Aug. 19

Clothing and footwear $100 or less
First $40 of a backpack or bookbag sale 

Massachusetts 6.25%

Saturday, Aug. 12
through
Sunday, Aug. 13

Almost every personal item
priced at $2,500 or less

Mississippi 7%

Friday, July 28
through
Saturday, July 29

Clothing and footwear $100 or less

Missouri 4.225%

Friday, Aug. 4
through
Sunday, Aug. 6 

Clothing $100 or less
School supplies $50 or less
Computer software $350 or less
Graphing calculators $150 or less 
Personal computers & peripheral devices $1,500 or less
Find more on the tax-exempt items in the state's Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday FAQs.

New Jersey 6.625%

Saturday, Aug. 26
through
Monday, Sept. 4

Computers less than $3,000
School computer supplies less than $1,000
No price limit on school supplies, school art supplies, school instructional materials, and sport or recreational equipment
Details on the tax-exempt items can be found at the state's special online sales tax holiday page.

New Mexico 5%

Friday, Aug. 4
through
Sunday, Aug. 6

Clothing or shoes $100 or less
Computers $1,000 or less
Computer hardware $500 or less
There is no price limit on school supplies that "students normally use in a standard classroom for educational purposes."
FYI-203, Gross Receipts Tax Holiday, contains more information on the exempted sales.

Ohio 5.75%

Friday, Aug. 4
through
Sunday, Aug. 6

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

Oklahoma 4.5%

Friday, Aug. 4
through
Sunday, Aug. 6

Clothing, footwear $100 or less

South Carolina 6%

Friday, Aug. 4
through
Sunday, Aug. 6

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

Tennessee 7%

Friday, July 28 
through 
Sunday, July 30  

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

Texas 6.25%

Friday, Aug. 11
through
Sunday, Aug. 13

Clothing, footwear, backpacks
priced at less than $100
Cloth and disposable fabric face masks meet the definition of an article of clothing and therefore are tax exempt during this weekend.
School supplies at less than $100

West Virginia 6%

Friday, Aug. 4
through
Monday, Aug. 7

Clothing, footwear $125 or less
School supplies ($50 or less)
School instruction material ($20 or less)
Sports equipment ($150 or less)
Laptop and tablet computers ($500 or less)
More on tax-exempt items can be found on the state's Sales Tax Holiday Questions and Answers page.

 

A couple of missing holidays: The 17 tax holidays this summer is down two from 2022, when 19 states held similar no-tax shopping events. Missing this year are Illinois and Virginia.

The Hoosier State's and Old Dominion's tax holidays are out this year because, unlike states where the no-tax-shopping days are permanently ensconced in those tax codes, these expire.

Sorry, shoppers in those states. Maybe next year.

Help for shoppers and lawmakers: While tax holidays ostensibly provide savings to consumers, most economists say the recouped consumer dollars are minimal.

But they do help the politicians who can tout their support of the holidays on the campaign trail.

That's one of the reasons that states tend to keep tax holidays on their calendars.

Shop wisely: The word tax in tax holidays is a dead giveaway that the events might not be as easy as shoppers hope.

As with tax filing, dates matter. While an event might be advertised as a weekend tax holiday, it could be in effect on just Saturday and Sunday, or Friday could make it a long weekend. Make sure you know when the holiday applies.

That's the first of 6 shopping tips to maximize sales tax holiday savings. Check it out, then make your list. That's also one of the tax holiday shopping suggestions.

Addendum: My tumblr blog Tumbling Taxes' related post has Macklemore's video "Thrift Shop" for your tax holiday shopping playlist.

You also might find these items of interest:

 

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