Aug 5, 2022 - Economy

A dozen states have tax-free school shopping this weekend

Sales tax holiday signs hang in a store

Photo: Kelly Tyko/Axios

The first weekend in August is the biggest for tax-free shopping, with a dozen states holding sales tax holidays.

Why it matters: Families, who are already grappling with higher prices for school supplies and clothes amid inflation, get a short tax break when stocking up this weekend.

Of note: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon do not have statewide sales tax, although Alaska allows localities to charge local taxes, according to the Tax Foundation.

State of play: The foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit, says sales tax holidays shift the timing of purchases and are “an inefficient response to inflation that encourage spending to be concentrated in a limited window at a time when supply chains are already strained.”

Sales tax holidays include online purchases

Not every town and county will participate in the sales tax holidays and not every item is included.

  • Sales tax is also waived for online shopping during the holidays.

Arkansas tax-free weekend

Arkansas holds its annual sales tax holiday on the first weekend of August each year for two days.

Tax-free items:

  • Clothing and shoes: Less than $100 per item. 
  • Clothing accessories or equipment: Less than $50 per item.
  • School supplies and electronic devices used by students for study are also included, the state said.

Florida tax-free shopping 2022

The Sunshine State's 14-day sales tax holiday wraps up Sunday but diapers and baby clothes will continue to be untaxed through June 30, 2023.

Tax-free items:

  • Most school supplies: $50 or less.
  • Clothing, footwear and accessories: $100 or less.
  • Computers and accessories for personal use: $1,500 or less.
  • Learning aids and jigsaw puzzles: $30 or less.

Illinois tax holiday

Illinois kicks off its 10-day tax holiday for back-to-school shopping Friday, and it runs through Aug. 14.

Context: It's not a tax freeze but the state sales tax will be lowered from 6.25% to 1.25% through Aug. 14 on most back-to-school eligible items, Justin Kaufmann and Monica Eng write for Axios Chicago.

The tax break covers eligible items under $125, including:

  • Shoes.
  • Shorts, pants and dresses.
  • Various school supplies.

Iowa tax-free weekend

The Hawkeye State's tax holiday is held annually on the first weekend in August and lasts two days, Friday and Saturday.

  • No state or local option sales tax will be collected on clothing or footwear less than $100, according to the state.

Missouri sales tax holiday

Several cities, counties and districts have elected not to participate in Missouri’s three-day tax holiday, which runs Friday through Sunday.

Tax-free items:

  • Clothing: $100 or less.
  • Personal computers: Up to $1,500.
  • School supplies: Not to exceed $50 per purchase.
  • Computer software: Up to $350.
  • Graphing calculators: Up to $150.

New Mexico tax holiday weekend

New Mexico waives sales tax, which ranges from 5% to more than 9%, Friday through Sunday for its annual back-to-school Gross Receipt Tax holiday.

Tax-free items:

  • Clothing and footwear: Less than $100.
  • Computers: Under $1,000.
  • Computer hardware: Under $500.
  • School supplies: Under $30.

Ohio tax-free weekend

Ohio has had a permanent sales tax holiday since 2019 that is held on the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of August each year.

Tax-free items:

  • Clothing: $75 or less.
  • School supplies and instructional materials: $20 or less.

Oklahoma tax-free shopping

Oklahoma's three-day sales tax holiday starts Friday and ends Sunday.

Tax-free items:

  • Clothing and footwear: Less than $100.

South Carolina tax holiday 2022

South Carolina's annual tax holiday first started in 2000 and this year's holiday is from Friday through Sunday.

Tax-free items:

  • Computers, printers, school supplies, clothing and accessories, shoes, and certain bed and bath items, regardless of price.

Texas tax-free weekend

Texas' sales tax holiday starts Friday and runs through Sunday on clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks.

Tax-free items:

  • Clothing and footwear: Less than $100.
  • School supplies and backpacks: Less than $100.

Virginia tax holiday 2022

Virginia’s three-day sales tax holiday — Friday through Sunday — waives tax on school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items as well as Energy Star and WaterSense products.

Tax-free items:

  • Clothing and footwear: $100 or less.
  • School supplies: $20 or less.
  • Hurricane and emergency preparedness products: Portable generators up to $1,000; gas-powered chainsaws $350 or less; other specified hurricane preparedness items, $60 or less per item.
  • Energy Star and WaterSense products: $2,500 or less per item

West Virginia tax-free weekend

West Virginia's state sales tax holiday runs Friday through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8.

Tax-free items:

  • Clothing: Up to $125.
  • School supplies: $50 or less.
  • Laptop and tablet computers: $500 or less.
  • Sports equipment: $150 or less.

Upcoming sales tax holidays

What's next: Massachusetts has a two-day holiday Aug. 13-14, Maryland has its tax week Aug. 14-20, Connecticut has its 22nd Sales Tax Week Aug. 21-27 and New Jersey has its first school tax holiday Aug. 27 through Sept. 5.

Go deeper: Inflation hits back-to-school shopping

Go deeper