6 tips to maximize Back-to-School sales tax holidays
If you just built up your base tan or are feeling as though summer just got underway, it’s a bit jarring to see the back-to-school circulars and signs already showing up. Breathe easy, there’s still a good month or so to savor the season. But, yes, the time to commence back-to-school shopping is nearing.
Come August, many states will have “tax holidays” when common items that are on your back-to-school shopping lists are tax-exempt. That includes clothing, backpacks, school supplies, and some electronics. And you can expect retailers, vying for your back-to-school spending cash, will be timing their sales in conjunction with the tax-relief holidays.
Here’s 6 tips for getting the most out of back-to-school tax breaks.
1. These states have sales tax breaks:
In all, 17 states offer tax-free, back-to-school shopping holidays. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
2. Know when to shop:
The majority of states run their tax-free shopping holidays in early August. (The August 5 – 7 weekend is especially popular). But, some, like Georgia and Tennessee, get an earlier start in late-July. Check online with your state’s revenue department to find out when you can do your tax-free back-to-school shopping.
3. Online sales qualify:
If you live in a state where there are sales tax holidays, purchases made online can qualify for the sales tax exemption. Check with your state’s revenue department. Missouri, for example, requires online purchases to be made during their tax-exempt days to qualify for the break. But, Iowa extends the exemption if items purchased via Internet, mail order or catalog are delivered during the exemption period, or ordered and paid for during the exemption period.
4. Know what to shop:
States have varying rules for what can be tax-exempt during this shopping holiday. For example, in Oklahoma, shoppers can get the exemption on clothes and shoes, so long as each item is less than $100. In Ohio, clothing priced at $75 or less and school supplies costing $20 or less per item are tax-free.
5. Look for retailer deals:
In Virginia, for example, retailers are allowed to make items “tax-free” by essentially running a sale where the store pays the taxes. The first weekend in August will be a popular shopping weekend for school supplies and clothes. Check in with ShopAtHome.com’s school savings hub to learn about sales.
6. Don’t miss out on sales:
Don’t have a sales tax holiday in your state? You can still save big. Here’s 14 ways to save on back-to-school shopping, with tips for shopping online for school supplies and earning Cash Back at your favorite retailers to building a registry to furnish a dorm.