15 States Offer Tax-Free Back-to-School Shopping Starting This Weekend

15 States Offer Tax-Free Back-to-School Shopping Starting This Weekend

Every year, a handful of states host tax-free holidays. Sometimes they're just for the weekend. A select few will run it for an entire week. Those lucky enough to live in one of these tax-holiday states can shop for back-to-school items ranging from clothing and shoes to crayons and computers, and they won't pay a cent in sales tax.

taxfree-fbThese are the 15 states that will offer tax-free shopping for back-to-school shoppers. The actual dates, eligible supplies and spending maximums vary by state, so check below to find details specific to your state.

Don't live in a state with a tax holiday? Don't fret, we've got a few online shopping suggestions for you, too.

Alabama

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Sunday 8/3

What to get:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item
  • Most computers, computer software and school computer supplies up to $750 in a single purchase
  • Most school supplies, art supplies and instructional materials up to $50 per item

Notes: Not all communities in Alabama participate, so check the list of participating cities and counties linked below before shopping locally. Additionally, while state sales tax will not be charged, purchases may still be subject to local sales taxes. Finally, pay particularly close attention to the list of eligible clothing items - the list of what is not eligible is twice as long.

More Info:
2014 Sales Tax Holiday Quick Reference Sheet
Participating Cities & Counties


 

Arkansas

Dates: Saturday 8/2 through Sunday 8/3

What to get: 

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item
  • Select clothing accessories and equipment up to $50 per item
  • Select school supplies, art supplies and instructional materials

Notes: Arkansas is suspending both state and local sales taxes.

More Info:
2014 Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday Itemized List
Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday FAQ


 

Connecticut

Dates: Sunday 8/17 through Saturday 8/23

What to Get:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $300 per item

Notes: You read that right - Connecticut is running an entire week of tax-free back-to-school shopping on clothing, and the $300 price ceiling is by far the most generous clothing tax break of any state on this list. Additionally, other supplies, like paper goods, computers and other school supplies, are not included.

More Info:
2014 Connecticut Sales Tax Holiday
Itemized List of Exempt and Taxable Items


 

Florida

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Sunday 8/3

What to Buy:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item
  • Select school supplies up to $15 per item
  • Select computers and computer accessories up to the first $750 of any priced item

Notes: There are two material changes to Florida's tax holiday this year, both of which are welcome updates for back-to-school shoppers. First, the clothing price cap was raised from $75 to $100 per item for 2014. Second, the $750 cap on computers and computer accessories is intended to cover the first $750 of any purchase rather than only items priced at $750 or less. That means that if you buy a $1,000, the first $750 is tax free, and you will be charged sales tax on the remaining $250.

More Info:
2014 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday


 

Georgia

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Saturday 8/2

What to get:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item
  • Select computers, accessories, and software up to $1,000 per item
  • Select school supplies, art supplies, school computer supplies and instructional materials up to $20 per item

More Info:
2014 Georgia Sales Tax Holiday Informational Bulletin


 

Iowa

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Saturday 8/2

What to get:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item

More Info:
Iowa Sales Tax Holiday Basics
List of Eligible and Exempt Items


 

Louisiana

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Saturday 8/2

What to get:

  • Just about any item up to the first $2,500 of the purchase price

Notes: Louisiana's tax holiday isn't just about back-to-school shopping. It's pretty all-inclusive, and it's much easier to list things that aren't eligible. Notable exclusions include services like hotels and repairs, admission to events, rentals, vehicles and dining out. All eligible purchases must be for personal use only.  The holiday only applies to the 4% state sales tax, so you may still pay taxes levied by parishes, municipalities, school boards and other local or non-state entities.

More Info:
2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday


 

Maryland

Dates: Sunday 8/10 through Saturday 8/16

What to get:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item

Notes: Like Connecticut, Maryland is going for a tax-free week rather than a weekend, and eligible items are limited to clothing and shoes - no school supplies or computers.

More Info:
Shop Maryland's Facts About Tax-Free Week
List of Taxable and Exempt Items
Maryland Tax-Free Week FAQ


 

Missouri

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Sunday 8/3

What to get:

  • Select clothing up to $100 per item
  • School supplies up to $50 per purchase
  • Computer software up to $350 per item
  • Personal computers up to $3,500
  • Computer peripheral devices up to $3,500

Notes: Although all state sales tax will be suspended for eligible items, local jurisdictions in Missouri can opt out and still charge local sales taxes. Missouri doesn't offer an FAQ or convenient list of eligible items, but the statute linked below lists specific examples and is blessedly easy to read.

More Info:
Missouri Back to School Sales Tax Holiday
Section 144.049, RSMo (Includes examples of eligible items)


 

New Mexico

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Sunday 8/3

What to get:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item
  • Select computers up to $1,000 per item
  • Select computer hardware up to $500 per item
  • Select school supplies up to $30 per item

More Info:
New Mexico Back to School Tax Free Holiday
New Mexico List of Taxable and Nontaxable Items


 

Oklahoma

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Sunday 8/3

What to get:

  • Clothing and footwear up to $100 per item

Notes: Layaway items are only eligible when the final payment and item delivery are made during the tax holiday period. This differs slightly from other tax holiday states, which also allow exemption for items placed on layaway during the tax holiday that are paid off later - this option is not available in Oklahoma.

More Info:
Oklahoma Sales Tax Holiday


 

South Carolina

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Sunday 8/3

What to get:

  • Select clothing, accessories and footwear
  • Select school supplies
  • Select computers, peripherals and software
  • Select household linens and textiles

Notes: South Carolina takes the unusual additional step of exempting items like towels, bedding, shower curtains and other common household linens, presumably to include college students who are often buying these items for the first time as school supplies. It's also worth noting that alterations to eligible clothing are also tax-free since most tax holiday states exclude them. The downside in South Carolina is that layaway items are completely excluded from tax exemption during the sales tax holiday.

More Info:
South Carolina Sales Tax Holiday FAQ
Sales Tax Holiday - List of Items


 

Tennessee

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Sunday 8/3

What to get:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item
  • Select school supplies up to $100 per item
  • Select computers up to $1,500 per item

Notes: While computers are tax-free, including laptops and tablets, peripherals, software and other school computer supplies are not. Likewise, instructional materials and reference books are considered taxable.

More Info:
Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday Fact Sheet
Sales Tax Holiday Alphabetical Directory


 

Texas

Dates: Friday 8/8 through Sunday 8/10

What to get:

  • Select clothing and footwear under $100 per item
  • Select school supplies and backpacks under $100 per item

Notes: Tax exemption is granted for items under $100 but not for items costing $100 (or more). It's an unusual way to define the cut off point and could confuse some shoppers.

More Info: 
Texas Sales Tax Holiday Weekend


 

Virginia

Dates: Friday 8/1 through Sunday 8/3

What to get:

  • Select clothing and footwear up to $100 per item
  • Select school supplies up to $20 per item

Notes: School supplies here include books, but not computers. Audio books are eligible so long as they are classified as reference books or textbooks. (Most tax holiday states do not make this distinction and simply exclude all CDs.)

More Info:
August Sales Tax Holiday
Sales Tax Holiday Lists of Exempt Items


 

For the other 35 states...

So you don't live in one of the tax-free weekend states? Just for you, we've rounded up a selection of online retailers that don't collect sales tax. Technically, online shoppers are supposed to self-report unpaid sales tax on tax returns, but the reality is that no one really does that and so far the IRS is letting that one go.

Online back to school sales

Cotton Knit Juniors Top for $18 at Overstock

Clothing: Check out the selection of clothing for children and teens at Overstock. They do charge sales tax in Utah, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and North Carolina, but doesn't collect any for the other 46 states. The kids' sections can be a little tricky to find - hover on "Women" or "Men" in the navigation menu and there's a "Related Categories" box with the kids' stuff off to the right. You'll need to spend $50 or more to avoid shipping charges.

Shoes: Our pick for a pair or two of back-to-school shoes is ShoeBuy, which only charges sales tax to customers in New York. Better yet, shipping is always free.

Backpacks: You'll find more backpacks and school bags at eBags than almost anywhere else. Sales tax is charged only in Colorado and Indiana, and shipping is free on orders over $49. Overstock is also a pretty good online alternative, especially if you're already ordering clothes there.

Back to school lunchbox

This DwellStudio Transportation insulated lunchbox is $18 at AllModern.

Lunchboxes: Overstock has plenty of lunch box options, and the Wildkins brand is especially cute, but I kind of fell in love with the DwellStudio lunchboxes at AllModern, which only charges sales tax in Massachusetts, New York, Utah and Kentucky. You'll unlock free shipping at AllModern when your totals more than $49.

School Supplies: Ditch the big office supply and discount stores and click over to SupplyGeeks for the back-to-school basics like notebooks, pens, crayons and everything that will be lost in the bottom of your kid's locker by mid-October. They offer free shipping on orders over $60 and only charge sales tax in California, Tennessee and Washington.

Computers: In addition to being one of the best kept secrets on the internet when it comes to finding deals on electronics, Newegg doesn't collect sales tax in most states. (They do charge tax in California, Indiana, New Jersey and Tennessee.) Most computers and many smaller items qualify for free shipping.

Cover Photo: Flickr / meddygarnet

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