Back-to-school shopping season is among us and it can surely become expensive. Typically, teachers spend roughly $400 of their own money on school supplies, while parents spend a ton more.
According to Deloitte’s annual “Back-to-School” and “Back-to-College” surveys, Americans’ spending for children in grades K-12 and college combined is $1,747. While that number is down a bit from 2014, that’s still a big chunk of change.
One of the ways that you can save money on your back-to-school shopping is by taking advantage of state sales tax holidays. If your state has a 7 percent sales tax, that’s $7 saved on every $100 spent. If you spend over a thousand dollars, that’s over $70 saved!
Starting July 31 and going through the rest of August, 16 states will be having state sales tax holidays. Two start Friday, July 31. Twelve kick off Friday, August 7!
Here is a list of the 16 states that offer sales tax holidays.
July 31-August 1, 2015: Georgia
The basics: you won’t pay tax on clothing and footwear (including vintage) of $100 or less, computer-related equipment costing $1,000 or less, or most school supplies priced at $20 or less per item.
July 31-August 1, 2015: Mississippi
The Mississippi state sales tax holiday is one of the most straightforward out there–you won’t pay tax on clothing and footwear costing less than $100. Some off-beat items that qualify as tax-exempt clothing include pajamas, suspenders and chef whites!
August 1-2, 2015: Arkansas
The State of Arkansas’ sales tax holiday allows shoppers to purchase certain school and art supplies, school instructional materials, and clothing, free of state and local sales or use tax. Believe it or not, if you’ve got a student going off to medical school, that lab coat would be tax-free—as long as it cost less than $100.
August 7-8, 2015: Iowa
In Iowa the August 7-8 state sales tax holiday (that’s Friday and Saturday only, by the way), is limited to clothing and footwear selling for a price less than $100. But like many other states,the list of taxable and exempt items includes things you might not think about for back to school–such as bandannas and choir clothing!
August 7-8, 2015: Louisiana
Like Iowa the Louisiana state sales tax holiday is Friday and Saturday only. The only rule for the Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday— you don’t pay state sales tax on the first $2,500 of the purchase price of most individual items of non-business nature. The holiday applies only to the 4 percent state sales tax, not parish, municipal, school or other sales taxes.
August 7-9, 2015: Alabama
This is Alabama’s 10th annual sales tax holiday, giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies (including globes and textbooks priced between $30 and $50), computers ($750 or less), and clothing ($100 or less) free of state sales or use tax. All retailers are required to participate.
August 7-9, 2015: Missouri
Certain back-to-school purchases (clothing, school supplies, computers, and other items) are exempt from sales tax–including backpacks (costing $50 or less) and laptops (priced less than $3,500). Some cities, districts and counties have elected NOT to participate in the Missouri sales tax holiday so do your homework ahead of time.
August 7-9, 2015: New Mexico
To qualify for tax-exempt status during the New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax Holiday, clothing or shoes must be priced at less than $100; computers must cost $1,000 or less; related computer hardware cannot cost more than $500; and school supplies must be under $30. Interestingly, ear muffs and golf clothing (but not golf gloves) all qualify as tax-exempt clothing.
August 7-9, 2015: Ohio
Like many states Ohio’s sales tax holiday focuses on school supplies ($20 or less). These supplies include instructional materials that a teacher might use in the classroom. It also includes clothing ($75 or less), and costumes are considered to be clothing. So now might be a good time to stock up for Halloween!
August 7-9, 2015: Oklahoma
During the Oklahoma sales tax holiday, most clothing and footwear sold for less than $100 each is exempt not only from state taxes but also from city, county and local municipality sales taxes. All retailers are required to participate. FYI, scarves, gloves and mittens qualify under clothing.
August 7-9, 2015: South Carolina
South Carolina’s sales tax holiday covers many of the basics that other states do—exempting shoppers from paying the 6 percent sales tax when buying clothing, school supplies and certain computer equipment. But get this: if you’ve got a child going off to college, some dorm necessities are also tax exempt—including blankets, bed spreads, bath towels and more.
August 7-9, 2015: Tennessee
Ballet dancers (or those looking to rock a 1980s throwback wardrobe) will love knowing that during Tennessee’s sales tax holiday, aerobic clothing, leotards and leg warmers—plus other clothing costing $100 or less–are exempt from tax. Also included: school supplies priced $100 or less, and computers costing $1,500 or less.
August 7-9, 2015: Texas
During the Texas sales tax holiday, retailers are not allowed to charge state sales tax on most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100. According to Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, shoppers will save an estimated $87 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday. The tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999.
August 7-9, 2015: Virginia
In 2015 Virginia combined its three existing sales tax holidays into one three-day holiday, offering tax-free shopping on qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star and WaterSense products. So if you wanted a gas-powered chain saw and it cost less than $350, you wouldn’t have to pay tax on it.
August 7-16, 2015: Florida
During the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, no tax will be collected on sales of clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $100 or less; certain school supplies selling for $15 or less; and the first $750 of the sales price for computers and certain computer-related accessories purchased for personal use only. Earbuds are considered school supplies so stock up!
August 9-15, 2015: Maryland
Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week allows you to buy clothing and footwear ($100 or less) and not pay taxes on them. Certain clothing-related services are also tax exempt during this time, including dry cleaning. Employee uniforms are also tax free. And so are cowboy boots!
(Info gathered from each states respective websites as well as Parade.com)