2020 sales tax holiday in Md., Va. amid pandemic

The D.C. region’s annual sales tax holiday is here, and this year, there is a focus on helping small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This year has been a tough year for small retailers especially for those deemed as non-essential, so they’ve been closed for a number of months,” said National Federation of Independent Business’ Virginia State Director Nicole Riley.
“It’s really important that the community support them as much as they can.”
With many schools starting online instead of in-person this fall, local tax free holiday shopping lists may look a little different this year. While states limit what is tax free, retailers can offer other items if the store is willing to take on the payment of that sales tax.
“A lot of stores will do that just to really encourage folks to come in and see an increase in sales,” Riley said.
Check out the details below.


When: Aug. 9-15.

Qualifying items: Clothing and footwear items priced at $100 or less are exempt, regardless of how many items are purchased at the same time.

Additionally, the first $40 of any book bag or backpack is exempt, though any amount over the initial $40 is taxable.

Accessories like jewelry, watches, ties and handbags are not exempt.

See the full list of items and price restrictions online.


When: Aug. 7-9.

Qualifying items: School supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items as well as Energy Star and WaterSense products.

School supplies need to be $20 or less per item. Clothing needs to be $100 or less per item.

For hurricane and emergency prep items:

  • Portable generators — $1,000 or less per item.
  • Gas-powered chain saws — $350 or less per item.
  • Chainsaw accessories — $60 or less per item.
  • Other specified hurricane preparedness items — $60 or less per item.

Energy Star and WaterSense products need to be $2,500 or less per item.

See the full list of items and price restrictions online.


D.C. did away with its sales tax holiday in 2010.

WTOP’s Valerie Bonk contributed to this report. 

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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