Sunday marks last day for tax-free shopping in Va., 1st day for Md.’s tax-free week

Sunday is the last day for shoppers to take advantage of Virginia’s three-day, tax-free holiday; it’s also the same day Maryland kicks off its tax-free shopping week.

Every August, shoppers in Virginia and Maryland get a break from paying sales tax on certain purchases related to the new school year and colder seasons, and those dates again are fast approaching.

Virginia’s sales tax holiday runs this year from Aug. 6 – 8. Maryland follows with a week of savings that begins Aug. 8.

Both jurisdictions have different promotions, but the good news is that you don’t have to be a resident of either state to take advantage of the savings.

Virginia: Aug. 6–8

Virginia offers a three-day tax-free shopping period for school supplies valued at $20 or less per item; qualified clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less per item; some hurricane- and emergency-preparedness products; and some Energy Star and WaterSense products.

Savings in sales tax exemptions will range from 5.3% to 7%.

Qualifying school supplies include such basic items as notebooks, book bags, pens and pencils.

Emergency-preparedness supplies include such items as flashlights, duct tape, bottled water, ice packs, first-aid kits, carbon monoxide detectors, plastic sheeting, non-electronic food coolers, can openers and cell phone chargers.

Larger purchases such as portable generators qualify at $1,000 or less per item, gas-powered chainsaws at $350 or less, chainsaw accessories at $60 or less, and miscellaneous hurricane-preparedness items at $60 or less.

Energy Star and WaterSense products for home or personal use qualify at $2,500 or less.

A detailed lists of qualifying items and purchasing options, plus information for retailers, can be found in this Sales Tax Holiday Guideline.

Maryland: Aug. 8-14

Marylanders have a full week to enjoy tax-free shopping during “Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week.”

During this week, clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less is exempt from Maryland’s 6% sales tax, regardless of how many items are purchased.

The first $40 of any backpack or bookbag purchase is also tax-free.

A list of eligible items — as well as a fact sheet for shoppers and merchants — are available online.

Some of the eligible items that sell for $100 or less include: adult diapers, aerobic clothing, arm warmers, baby clothes, diapers and diaper bags, belts, bowling attire, dry cleaning services, lab coats, lingerie, martial arts attire, pajamas, panty hose, prom dresses, suits, tuxedos (rented or purchased), swim suits and tennis clothes.

Students who promote their tax-free purchases on social media could win a $1,000 or a $500 scholarship to a Maryland university, college or trade school. Students can apply by emailing a photo or short video (60 seconds or less) that shows their tax-free week purchases and their support of Maryland retailers to

Entries should be posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok — using the hashtag #shopmdtaxfree. For best consideration, the state says, “submissions should display and tag the name of the retailer and explain why it’s their favorite place to shop tax free.”

Retailers can also download Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week graphics to display in-store and to post on social media platforms.

Glynis Kazanjian

Glynis Kazanjian has been a freelance writer covering Maryland politics and government on the local, state and federal levels for the last 11 years. Her work is published in Maryland Matters, the Baltimore Post Examiner, Bethesda Beat and Md. Reporter. She has also worked as a true crime researcher.

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