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We all love free things, clearance sales, discount sales, two for the price of one, big sales, back to school sales. But imagine buying things from the store without having to pay sales taxes. Wouldn’t that be nice? That’s what you get with a sales tax holiday. You could save a lot of money if you knew when to shop tax-free in your state.

Besides helping you save taxes, we also love maximizing our resources at every chance. If you have kids or shop in bulk, you’ll know that even an $8 discount can make a huge difference. If you’re mindful of your resources like us, then you’ll find this blog valuable in helping you make the most of your sales tax holiday wherever you are in the US.  

What is a sales tax holiday?

A sales tax holiday is a limited-time period when selected goods purchased are exempt from state and sometimes local taxes. Sales tax holidays have become an annual event in several parts of the US.

Sales tax holidays are typically restricted to eligible purchases by criteria such as price and product. Sales tax holidays usually fall under one of these categories.

  • Back-to-school items 
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Energy-efficient home appliances
  • Weather preparedness appliances
  • Second Amendments such as ammunition, firearms, and hunting

July and August are the best periods for sales tax holidays in most states, but there are other tax-free holidays throughout the year for weather preparedness and the Second Amendment.

How does a tax holiday work?

The basic idea is that the government wants to encourage consumer spending, business investment and offset the effect of market-based increases with a temporary tax holiday for a limited time. Some tax holidays may also offset the effect of market-based increases in prices.

Sales tax usually has a dollar amount for qualified items. For instance, clothing and footwear that costs $100 or less per item are sales tax-free, while items above the threshold are taxable in full in most cases. In some states, the exemption only applies to the state rate and not the local rate, and in some cases, you could get a reduced state rate. 

In general, sales rules on tax holidays can vary based on:

  • The sales tax holiday dates,
  • The time span of the tax-free holiday,
  • The items exempt from sales tax,
  • The maximum amount of tax-exempt purchase 
  • Whether the maximum amount is per item or the total purchase

How much can you save during a tax holiday?

The amount of money you save during the tax holiday depends on the customary sales taxes in the state where you’re shopping. For instance, not all states have a sales tax; states like Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, and  Delaware don’t have a sales tax, while other states, such as California and Rhode Island, charge 7% or more. When some local sales taxes are added, the total sales taxes in some areas could sum up to 9%.

How long do tax holidays last

State tax holidays usually last from two to seven days.

 

When is the tax holiday in your state?

Most sales tax holidays begin at midnight on the start date and end at 11:59 p.m. or midnight on the end date. States also have the liberty to set a time frame for sales tax holidays.

 

Sales tax holiday per state

 

State Name of Tax Holiday Dates (2023) Examples of Items Included
Alabama Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday February 24 – 26 Severe weather preparedness items and portable generators.
Alabama Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday July 21 – 23 Books, school and air supplies, computers, clothing.
Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday August 5 – 6 School and air supplies, instructional materials, and clothing,
Connecticut Sales Tax-Free Week August 20 – 26 Footwear and clothing 
Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday August 26 – September 8 Portable generators, smoke detectors, pet beds, radios, and cat litter.
Florida Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday May 29 – September 4 Camping supplies, fishing supplies, insect repellent, and sunblock.
Florida Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday July 24 – August 6 Learning aids, clothing, school supplies, and computers.
Florida Sales Tax Exemption Period on Impact-Resistant Doors, Garage Doors, & Windows July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024, Impact-resistant doors, impact-resistant garage doors, & impact-resistant windows for commercial or non-commercial use.
Florida Sales Tax Exemption Period on New Energy Star appliances July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 Washing machines, water heaters, and refrigerators.
Florida Sales Tax Exemption Period on Children’s Diapers & Baby & Toddler Clothing July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 Clothing, accessories, and shoes for children under the age of five years.
Florida Tools and Equipment Sales Tax Holiday September 2 – 8 Tools and other home improvement items
Iowa Iowa’s Annual Sales Tax Holiday August 4 – 5 Clothing and footwear
Maryland Shop Maryland Energy Tax-Free Weekend February 18 – 20 Energy Star products.
Maryland Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week August 13 – 19 Clothing, footwear, and backpacks.
Massachusetts Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday August 12 – 13 Clothing and other retail items.
Mississippi Sales Tax Holiday July 28 – 29 Clothing and footwear
Mississippi Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday August 25 – 27 Ammunition, firearms, and hunting supplies.
Missouri Show Me Green Sales Tax Holiday April 19 – 25 Energy Star products.
Missouri Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday August 4 – 6 Clothing, school supplies, and computers.
New Jersey Sales Tax Holiday August 26 – September 4 Computers, school art supplies, instructional materials, and sports/recreational equipment.
New Mexico Back-to-School Tax-Free Holiday August 4 – 6 Clothing, shoes, laptops, and school supplies.
Ohio Sales and Use Tax Holiday August 4 – 6 Clothing, school supplies, and school instructional materials.
Oklahoma Sales Tax Holiday August 4 – 6 Clothing and footwear.
South Carolina Sales & Use Tax Holiday August 4 – 6 Clothing and accessories, computers, software, and certain bed and bath supplies.
Tennessee Traditional Sales Tax Holiday July 28 – July 30 Clothing, school supplies, and computers.
Tennessee Grocery Sales Tax Suspension August 1 – October 31 Food and food ingredients.
Tennessee Gun Safes & Safety Equipment July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 Gun safes and gun safety devices.
Texas Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday April 22 – 24 Portable generators, emergency ladders, axes, batteries, and can openers.
Texas Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday May 27 – 29 Energy Star air conditioners, refrigerators, and other products.
Texas Sales Tax Holiday August 11 – 13 Clothing and footwear, school supplies, and backpacks.
West Virginia Sales Tax Holiday August 4 – 7 Clothing, school supplies, and laptops.

 

How to save big with sales tax holidays

Keep major shopping for the tax-free holiday: consider searching for tax holidays sprinkled though out the year and target major shopping for those periods to save more money.

Check with your state for exemptions: before you start shopping, find out if there are unusual exceptions for your purchases. For instance, in New Mexico, sports uniforms and bathing suits were exempt from the clothing as part of its tax-free weekend, which meant they were still taxable. 

Shop around: if you’re sure that part of your shopping list won’t be covered by the sales tax-free holiday, shop around and check out local clothing consignment stores to help reduce the cost. Websites and apps such as Google Shopping and Flipp also help you. Search for products by name and compare the prices to save you a lot of money.

Take Home

The main idea of tax holidays is to help you save money and get temporary relief from taxes, but there’s a permanent way to keep the IRS off for good with legal and above-board tax strategies. At Tax Goddess, we help our clients save tax money and reach their financial potential by exploring tax loopholes legally with a treasure trove of over 400 tax strategies. So far, we’ve helped our clients save over $billion in total, and we aren’t stopping any time soon.

 Want to cut off your tax burden and create tax-free wealth? Book a free call now

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