person buying school supplies at register
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17 States With Tax-Free Weekends for Back-to-School Items This Month

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.

Mississippi

July 29-30

  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced below $100.
  • The city of Heidelberg will not participate in the tax holiday.

Tennessee

July 29-31

  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • School supplies: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • Computers: Any item priced at $1,500 or less.

Georgia

July 30-31

  • School supplies: Any item priced at $20 or less.
  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • Computers, computer components and software: Any item priced at $1,000 or less. (Computer accessories used for recreation -- like video games and controllers, CDs, DVDs, projectors and computer bags -- will be subject to tax.)

Iowa

Aug. 5-6

  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced at $100 or less.

Louisiana

Aug. 5-6

  • Applies to most goods priced at $2,500 or less.
  • Sales-tax holiday only applies to the 5% state sales tax, not to sales taxes levied by parishes, municipalities, school boards.

Alabama

Aug. 5-7

  • Books: Any item priced at $30 or less.
  • School supplies: Any item priced at $50 or less, including school art supplies and instructional materials
  • Clothing: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • Computers and software: Any item priced at $750 or less.
  • Alabama cities and counties can decline to partake in the holiday or only participate on a limited basis, in which case only a portion of the sales tax would be exempt.

Florida

Aug. 5-7

  • School supplies: Any item priced at $15 or less.
  • Clothing, footwear, and accessories: Any item priced at $60 or less.
  • Tax holiday does not apply to items sold at theme parks, entertainment complexes, hotels, and airports.

Missouri

Aug. 5-7

  • School supplies: Any item priced at $50 or less.
  • Clothing: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • Computer software: Any item priced at $350 or less.
  • Personal computers and peripheral devices: Any item priced at $1,500 or less.
  • Graphing calculators: Any item priced at $150 or less.
  • Cities, counties, and districts can elect not to participate in the holiday. In that case, shoppers in these areas would pay local tax but not the state tax rate on qualifying purchases.

New Mexico

Aug. 5-7

  • School supplies: Any item priced below $30.
  • Backpacks, maps, and globes: Any item priced below $100.
  • Calculators: Any item priced below $200.
  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced below $100.
  • Computer-related items: Any item priced below $500.
  • Computers: Any item priced below $1,000.

Ohio

Aug. 5-7

  • Clothing: Any item priced at $75 or less.
  • School supplies: Any item priced at $20 or less.
  • School instructional materials: Any item priced at $20 or less.

Oklahoma

Aug. 5-7

  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced at $100 or less.

Texas

Aug. 5-7

  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • Backpacks: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • School supplies: Any item priced at $100 or less.

South Carolina

Aug. 5-7

  • Clothing, accessories, footwear, school supplies, computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software, bed linens, and bath accessories are all eligible, with no spending limit.

Virginia

Aug. 5-7

  • School supplies: Any item priced at $20 or less.
  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • Products that meet Energy Star and WaterSense qualifications: Any item priced at $2,500 or less.
  • Portable generators: Any item priced at $1,000 or less.
  • Gas-powered chainsaws: Any item priced at $350 or less.
  • Other hurricane preparedness supplies and chainsaw accessories: Any item priced at $60 or less.

Arkansas

Aug. 6-7

  • Clothing: Any item priced at $100 or less.
  • Apparel accessories: Any item priced at $50 or less.
  • School supplies, including art materials and school instructional materials: No dollar limit.

Maryland

Aug. 14-20

  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced at $100 or less.

Connecticut

Aug. 21-27

  • Clothing and footwear: Any item priced at $100 or less.
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