Everyone loves getting a bargain. What they love even more is getting that bargain at the expense of the tax collector.
You'll find a list of the current tax holidays a bit later on this page. But first, a quick look at these events.
What and why tax holidays: Tax holidays are a temporary reduction or elimination of a tax.
States and other participating tax jurisdictions lose money on sales tax holidays. That's why occasionally state lawmakers suspend a holiday or tweak it in order to ease the bite to the state treasury.
But they are popular with shoppers, or as politicians refer to them, possible voters.
Retailers also tend to like tax holidays even though the businesses must deal with some short-term administrative hassles. At least technology has made that easier.
And when people walk into a store for a tax-free item, there's always the chance that, as noted in my tax holiday shopping tips blog post, they'll buy a few other things, too.
Tax holiday history: The first sales tax holiday was way back in 1997. The year before, New York legislators created a week-long statewide sales tax holiday that took place the following January. Local Empire State governments were given the option to participate and most declined.
But the idea caught on quickly in other states.
In recent years, around a dozen or more states offer the tax-free days for selected purchases. In years when states felt especially flush, as many as 20 or more states held the holidays.
And a few hold multiple tax holidays throughout the year.
Back-to-school connection: Most tax-free holidays, however, are held in late summer and are tied to retailers' annual back-to-school sales. That's the case even when the tax-free items aren't necessarily connected to classwork or educational endeavors.
Each year, a few states kick off the annual tax holiday season in late July. Most fall during early August, generally that month's first weekend.
And a few states, likely those where schools open near or after Labor Day, push their sales-tax-free events later into August.
Regardless of when the tax-exempt days fall or what's sold sans sales tax, check out the event if your state participates. It could save you a few dollars.
The table below lists the current annual state sales tax holidays alphabetically. Links in the table provide more details directly from the participating state's tax departments.
2016 State and Local Sales Tax Holidays
|State sales tax rate shown; local taxes also may be waived (Click links for more details)||
||Tax-free products and per-item price limits
(Click links for more details)
|Alabama 4%||Aug. 5-7||Clothing priced at $100 or less. Books priced at $30 or less. School supplies priced at $50 or less. Computers and software priced at $750 or less.
|Arkansas 6.5%||Aug. 6-7||Clothing priced at $100 or less. Apparel accessories priced at $50
or less. No dollar limit on school supplies.
|Connecticut 6.35%||Aug. 21-27||Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.
|Florida 6%||Aug. 5-7||Clothing, footwear and accessories priced at $60 or less. School supplies costing $15 or less.
|Georgia 4%||July 31-Aug. 1||Clothing and footwear at $100 or less. Computers and certain related accessories at $1,000 or less. School supplies at $20 or less.
|Iowa 6%||Aug. 5-6||Clothing and footwear priced at less than $100.
|Louisiana 5%||Aug. 5-6||Most personal property sold for $2,500 or less qualifies for a 2% sales tax reduction, not a full tax exemption. This means the applicable tax rate is 3% on eligible items instead of 5% for 2016 and 2017 tax holidays. The full tax-exemption will return for the 2018 holiday period.
|Maryland 6%||Aug. 14-20||Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.
|Mississippi 7%||July 29-30||Clothing and footwear priced at less than $100.
|Missouri 4.225%||Aug. 5-7||Clothing priced at $100 or less. School supplies costing $50 or less. Computer software priced at $350 or less. Personal computers and peripheral devices costing $1,500 or less.
|New Mexico 5.125%||Aug. 5-7||Clothing or shoes priced at less than $100 per unit. Desktop, laptop or notebook computers priced at $1,000 or less; computer hardware priced at $500 or less. School supplies priced at less than $30.
|Ohio 5.75%||Aug. 5-7||Clothing priced at $75 or less. School supplies and school instructional material priced at $20 or less.
|Oklahoma 4.5%||Aug. 5-7||Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.
|South Carolina 6%||Aug. 5-7||No purchase price limit on clothing, accessories and footwear; school supplies; computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software; and bed linens and bath furnishings.
|Tennessee 7%||July 29-31||Clothing and footwear costing $100 or less. School supplies priced at $100 or less. Computers priced at $1,500 or less.
|Texas 6.25%||Aug. 5-7||Clothing and footwear at less than $100. Backpacks at less than $100. School supplies at less than $100.
|Virginia 4.3%||Aug. 5-7||Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less. School supplies at $20 or less. Energy Star and WaterSense qualified products priced at $2,500 or less. Hurricane preparedness items, including generators at $1,000 or less, gas-powered chainsaws at $350 or less, chainsaw accessories at $60 or less, and other eligible storm items at $60 or less.|
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2016