Tax free weekends are back this August, just in time for back-to-school shopping season.
Every year at around this time, select states host sales tax holidays that allow shoppers to pick up notebooks and other school supplies, as well as shoes, clothes, and sometimes even computers and home goods — entirely tax free.
Tax free shopping dates vary by location, but most of the participating states kick off their sales tax holidays starting today, August 3. Right now, and through the weeks ahead, shoppers in 14 states — including Virginia, South Carolina, Texas, Connecticut, and Wisconsin — can make tax free purchases on specified items.
Each state's sales tax holiday rules are a little different. Some offer tax free shopping just on clothing and footwear, and there is often a price cap of $75 or $100 per item to qualify for the tax exemption. Other states have broader tax free shopping holidays and waive the usual sales tax on computers, home goods for outfitting college dorms (like towels and sheets), and all manner of school supplies, including backpacks, notebooks, protractors, and pencils.
In most cases, shoppers pay no sales tax for either in-store or online purchases — assuming you're doing your online shopping in the corresponding state on the correct dates, and the items qualify.
No matter how you're shopping, sales tax holidays represent an easy way to save 5%, 7%, or whatever the local sales tax is in your state.
Here are the sales tax holiday dates for each state, as well as details on what items qualify. If you have questions about what does and doesn't qualify for tax free shopping, click on the appropriate link below and read the fine print.
You can shop tax free in Arkansas on a wide range of back-to-school purchases, including classic school supplies like backpacks, notebooks, and pencils; art supplies for school, textbooks and other instructional materials, and clothing priced at $100 per item or less.
Shop tax free in Connecticut for a whole week on clothing and footwear priced under $100.
From August 3 to 5, there is no sales tax in Florida on school supplies priced at $15 or less, and clothing and footwear priced at $60 or less.
Shoppers in Iowa can purchase clothing and footwear, under $100 each, with no sales tax.
A sales tax holiday is in effect in Maryland on footwear and clothing priced at $100 or less, from August 12 through August 18.
Massachusetts just approved its tax free weekend for August 11 and August 12. Shoppers will get to skip the sales tax on school supplies and most other purchases priced up to $2,500. Exceptions include restaurant meals, cars, and all forms of tobacco.
Tax free shopping in Missouri is available from August 3 to 5 on most back-to-school purchases — including clothing priced at $100 or less, computers priced up to $1,500, and a total of $50 worth of traditional school supplies like crayons, rulers, and backpacks.
From August 3 to 5, shop tax free in New Mexico for clothing or footwear priced at $100 or less per item, computers and tablets priced up to $1,000, and school supplies priced at $30 or less per item.
A sales tax holiday in Ohio is effect from August 3 to 5 on clothing up to $75 per item, school supplies priced up to $20 each, and books and other instructional materials up to $20 each.
From August 3 to 5, shoppers in Oklahoma get to skip sales tax on most footwear and clothing priced up to $100 each.
South Carolina's tax free weekend is August 3 to 5: Shoppers don't have to pay sales tax on school supplies, computers, clothing, and even home and dorm items like towels, sheets, pillows, and shower curtains. You'll still have to pay sales tax on many other purchases, though, including things like jewelry, mattresses, furniture, sleeping bags, and cookware.
Texas has several tax free shopping weekends throughout the year, including one from August 10 to 12 that benefits families during back-to-school season. Shoppers will be able to buy most backpacks, clothing, footwear, and school supplies priced under $100 each, with no sales tax.
A sales tax holiday is being held in Virginia from August 3 to 5. Shoppers pay no sales tax on school supplies priced at $20 or less each, on clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less per item, and on various hurricane preparedness equipment and Energy Star products priced at $2,500 or less.
Wisconsin is holding its 2018 back-to-school sales tax holiday during the first five days of August. Shoppers pay no sales tax on clothing and school supplies priced up to $75 per item, computers for personal use priced up to $750 each, and computer supplies priced up to $250 each.