Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend Sales

Sales tax holidays date back to 1980 when Ohio and Michigan offered residents a one-time chance to skip sales tax on automobile purchases, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation. However, in recent years, they have become an annual event in more than a dozen states.

“A sales tax holiday happens when a state waives or reduces sales tax on certain items, such as school supplies, clothing, textbooks and even computers,” says Johan Mengesha, senior director of deals website Slickdeals.net.

[Read: Money Saving Challenges.]

Tax-free shopping is especially popular in the South, according to Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends expert with coupon and savings site RetailMeNot. When it comes to back-to-school shopping, data from the website indicates 56% of parents buy items mostly in stores, and electronics, shoes and clothing make up half of shoppers’ spending. Customers should expect to see plenty of sales during these tax holidays, Skirboll says.

While shopping in stores is the norm for many families, people shouldn’t forget that mail orders and online orders may qualify for tax exemptions as well. “Folks overlook one of the best savings opportunities,” says Howard Dvorkin, CPA and chairman of personal finance site Debt.com. “Amazon will participate in your state’s tax-free holiday on eligible items.”

Here are the 16 states offering back-to-school tax-free days in 2020:

— Alabama

— Arkansas

— Connecticut

— Florida

— Iowa

— Maryland

— Massachusetts

— Mississippi

— Missouri

— New Mexico

— Ohio

— Oklahoma

— South Carolina

— Tennessee

— Texas

— Virginia

Keep reading for a closer look at what is included in each sales tax holiday .

[See: 35 Ways to Save Money.]

Alabama

Dates: July 17 to July 19
What items are eligible? Alabama’s summer sales tax holiday exempts the following from sales tax: clothing purchases of less than $100 per article, computers and computer software in a single purchase of $750 or less, school supplies of $50 or less per item and books costing $30 or less. Visit the Alabama Department of Revenue for a reference sheet of exempt items .

Arkansas

Dates: Aug. 1 to Aug. 2
What items are eligible? Tax -free items include clothing less than $100 per article, clothing accessories less than $50 per item, school supplies, school art supplies and school instructional material, according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Connecticut

Dates: Aug. 16 to Aug. 22
What items are eligible? Connecticut shoppers get an entire week to buy clothing and footwear tax-free. Individual items must be less than $100 each to qualify, according to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services.

Florida

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
What items are eligible? The 2020 back-to-school sales tax holiday covers clothing and accessories selling for less than $60 per item, certain school supplies selling for less than $15 per item and up to $1,000 of the purchase of personal computers and computer accessories, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.

Iowa

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 8
What items are eligible? The tax-free days offer deals on clothing and footwear selling for less than $100 per item, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue.

Maryland

Dates: Aug. 9 to Aug. 15
What items are eligible? Maryland is another state that gives residents a full week of tax-free shopping. Eligible items include clothing and footwear selling for less than $100 and the first $40 of backpack or bookbag sales. More information about the Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week can be found on the Comptroller of Maryland website.

Massachusetts

Dates: Aug. 29 to Aug. 30
What items are eligible? There are few restrictions for the Massachusetts sales tax holiday. Almost all personal purchases of items of $2,500 or less qualify for the sale tax exemption. There are only a handful of exceptions such as motor vehicles, motorboats, marijuana products, meals and utilities, according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Mississippi

Dates: July 31 to Aug. 1
What items are eligible? Mississippi maintains a sales tax holiday each summer to exempt from sales tax purchases of clothing, footwear and school supplies that are selling for less than $100 apiece. The Mississippi Department of Revenue also offers a Second Amendment tax holiday from Aug. 28-30 in which sales tax is not applied to purchases of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies.

[READ: 8 Ways to Save for Your Child’s College Education.]

Missouri

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
What items are eligible? Tax -free shopping is available for clothing priced at less than $100 per item, personal computers and computer peripheral devices of up to $1,500 and school supplies of up to $50. Purchases of up to $150 for graphing calculators and $350 for computer software are also exempt from sales tax. However, the Missouri Department of Revenue notes that city, county and district sales tax may still apply.

New Mexico

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
What items are eligible? The New Mexico back-to-school, tax-free holiday exempts the following from sales tax: clothing and shoes costing less than $100 per item, computers of up to $1,000, computer hardware of up to $500 and school supplies that are less than $30 each. The state’s Taxation and Revenue Department maintains a list of taxable and nontaxable items on its website.

Ohio

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
What items are eligible? Ohio ‘s tax-free weekend covers any item of clothing costing $75 or less, school supplies that are $20 or less and school instructional material that is $20 or less, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Oklahoma

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
What items are eligible? Clothing and footwear items priced at $100 or less are exempt from sales tax during this weekend, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

South Carolina

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
What items are eligible? Unlike other states, South Carolina puts no price restrictions on purchases during its sales tax holiday weekend. Qualified school supplies, apparel, bed and bath items and electronics purchases may be eligible so long as they are needed for school, according to the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

Tennessee

Dates: July 31 to Aug. 2
What items are eligible? For 2020, Tennessee expanded its sales tax holiday. It exempts from sales tax the following: clothing with a price of $200 or less, school supplies and school art supplies with a price of $200 or less and electronic devices, such a computers and televisions, of $3,000 or less. The Tennessee Department of Revenue notes there is a second tax-free weekend from Aug. 7-9 for food and drinks sold at restaurants.

Texas

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
What items are eligible? Most purchases of clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks that cost less than $100 are exempt from sales tax during the weekend, according to the Texas Comptroller.

Virginia

Dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
What items are eligible? Virginia extends its tax-free weekend to more than school supplies. It covers clothing that costs less than $100 per item, school supplies less than $20 per item, Energy Star and WaterSense products of up to $2,500 and hurricane and emergency preparedness items. Gas-powered chainsaws of up to $350, chainsaw accessories and other emergency supplies priced at up to $60 and generators of up to $1,000 are all exempt, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation.

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Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend Sales originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 08/05/20: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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