Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images
By Kerri Anne Renzulli
July 28, 2016

Gearing up for the start of school? It may be worth delaying your shopping till an upcoming tax-free weekend.

Over the next month, 17 states — primarily in the southeastern U.S. — will hold so-called sales tax holidays. The promotions let shoppers stock up on items like clothing, footwear, school supplies, books, and computers, without having to fork over cash to state and local authorities.

Each state sets its own rules on what counts as tax free, and whether the exemption applies to multiple item buys, rain checks, layaways, and back-ordered stock.

Bear in mind that this tax gimmick, while popular on both sides of the political aisle, doesn’t always produce the deals you might expect. In fact, the Tax Foundation warns that “some retailers raise prices during the holiday, reducing consumer savings.”

What follows, in calendar order, is a guide to the states offering a tax holiday — each with a list of items that qualify as tax-free purchases, plus any other relevant rules.

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