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By Kenadi Silcox
August 3, 2021
Collage of School supplies and tags with the word Tax on them cut in two.
Money; Getty Images

The cost of back-to-school shopping is expected to be at an all-time high this year thanks to higher demand and supply shortages, but families in certain parts of the U.S. can still save money by taking advantage of special tax holidays.

Every year around this time, some states schedule sales tax "holidays" that allow shoppers to purchase common school supplies like pencils, notebooks, clothing and computers without having to pay state sales tax (though local taxes may still apply). Not all states have sales tax to begin with, but depending on where you live and what you're buying, this could take as much as 7% off your bill.

While the annual back-to-school tax holidays in states like Tennessee and West Virginia have already passed, the majority of participating states will be offering the discount in the first three weeks of August. In states like Florida and Maryland, shoppers will get an entire week of tax-free purchases, but the majority of these holidays are for one weekend only — so be sure to set a reminder ahead of time.

It's important to check your state's specific rules for eligibility, as what counts as "school supplies" can vary by location. For instance, art supplies used in schools like molding clay and paintbrushes are exempt in Arkansas, whereas in Ohio those items are still taxable. Additionally, there are also some non-school-related tax holidays going on during the month of August: Shoppers in Tennessee, for example, can purchase meal ingredients and prepared food tax-free between now and Aug. 5, along with gun safes and safety devices between now and June 30, 2022.

If your state isn't on the list, you'll still be able to find plenty of deals on school supplies this month. Walmart currently has school supplies on sale for as low as $0.25. Target is offering similar deals, as well as providing teachers with 15% off classroom supplies if they register with the retailer between now and Aug. 29.

Here's a full list of tax-free shopping days in August. Read on to find out when your state's back-to-school shopping holiday is and what you'll be able to buy tax-free:

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Arkansas

Date(s): Aug. 7-8

Items included:

  • School supplies (no price limit)
  • Clothing up to $100 per item
  • Electronic devices (no price limit)

Website: https://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/excise-tax/sales-and-use-tax/sales-tax-holiday

Connecticut

Date(s): Aug. 15-21

Items included:

  • Clothing and footwear up to $100 per item

Website: https://portal.ct.gov/DRS/Sales-Tax/Sales-Tax-Free-Week

Florida

Date(s): July 31 to Aug. 9

Items included:

  • School supplies up to $15 per item
  • Clothing up to $60 per item
  • Computers up to $1,000 per item

Website: https://floridarevenue.com/backtoschool/Pages/default.aspx

Iowa

Date(s): Aug. 6-7

Items included:

  • Clothing up to $100 per item

Website: https://tax.iowa.gov/iowas-annual-sales-tax-holiday

Maryland

Dates: Aug. 8-14

Items included:

  • Clothing and footwear up to $100 per item

Website: https://marylandtaxes.gov/divisions/comp/Shop_Maryland_Tax-free_Week/Tax_Free_Week_Facts.pdf

Massachusetts

Dates: Aug.14-15

Items included:

Website: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/sales-tax-holiday-frequently-asked-questions

Missouri

Dates: Aug. 6-8

Items included:

  • School supplies up to $50 per item
  • Clothing up to $100 per item
  • Computers up to $1,500 per item

Website: https://dor.mo.gov/taxation/business/tax-types/sales-use/holidays/back-to-school/

New Mexico

Dates: Aug. 6-8

Items included:

  • School supplies up to $30 per item
  • Clothing up to $100 per item
  • Computers up to $1,000 per item
  • Computer equipment up to $500 per item

Website: https://www.tax.newmexico.gov/news-alerts/tax-holiday/

Ohio

Dates: Aug. 6-8

Items included:

  • School supplies and instructional materials up to $20 per item
  • Clothing up to $75 per item

Website: https://tax.ohio.gov/static/ohiotaxalert/archivedalerts/salestaxholiday2021.pdf

Oklahoma

Dates: Aug. 6-8

Items included:

  • Clothing up to $100 per item

Website: https://oklahoma.gov/SalesTaxHolidaypdf.pdf

South Carolina

Dates: Aug. 6-8

Items included:

  • School supplies (no price limit)
  • Clothing and accessories (no price limit)
  • Computers and technology (no price limit)
  • Bedroom and bathroom products (no price limit)

Website: https://dor.sc.gov/taxfreeweekend

Texas

Dates: Aug. 6-8

Items included:

  • Clothing and footwear up to $100 per item
  • School supplies and backpacks up to $100 per item

Website: https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/publications/98-490/

Virginia

Dates: Aug. 6-8

Items included:

  • School supplies up to $20 per item
  • Clothing up to $100 per item

Website: https://www.tax.virginia.gov/virginia-sales-tax-holiday

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