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Sales Tax Holidays: Shop Tax-Free in These Two States This Weekend

These tax-free shopping events apply to back-to-school supplies, electronics, clothing and more.

Mother and daughter shopping for clothes
Many states pause or reduce sales taxes to cushion the blow of back-to-school shopping.
Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images

With prices continuing to climb in the US, buying school supplies may cost a little extra this year. A recent CNET survey found that inflation is impacting the back-to-school shopping plans of 85% of Americans, with 47% planning on buying only essentials.

One way to try to save money this back-to-school season is with state sales tax holidays. Some states hold tax-free events, usually lasting a few days, where participating states pause or reduce state and sometimes local sales taxes. The suspended tax breaks only apply to specific categories, such as books, clothing, computers and athletic gear.

While 16 of the 18 state sales tax events have already ended, there are two remaining -- Connecticut and Maryland. In addition, five states offer tax-free shopping all year round. See below for details. You can also check out our map and state-by-state descriptions below to find out if your state already participated and which items were tax-free.

For more ways to save money, find out if your state is offering a gas tax holiday or sending tax rebate checks.

Tax-free dates and deals this month

Maryland

Dates: Aug. 14 to 20, 2022

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item.
  • Backpacks: Tax-free for the first $40 spent.
  • View the full list of items on the Comptroller of Maryland website.

Connecticut

Dates: Aug. 21 to 27, 2022

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item, excluding athletic gear and uniforms.
  • View the full list of items on the Connecticut Department of Revenue website.

States that never have any sales tax

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon

Read more: 85% of Americans Say Inflation Taking a Bite Out of Back-to-School Shopping

What is a tax holiday?

A tax holiday, also called a tax-free weekend or week, refers to a period of time when qualifying items are exempt from sales tax. Some states hold tax-free holidays annually, and a few even host several tax-free events throughout the year. Most states that participate in tax holidays hold an event in the summer that aligns with back-to-school shopping. 

Do tax-free weekends include online sales?

Yes, online purchases for state residents made during their sales tax holiday will be tax-free, even through large online retailers like Amazon. Just make sure you follow your state's guidelines for qualifying items.

What happens if I buy a qualifying item that's over the dollar limit?

This varies by state. In Maryland for example, the first $40 spent on a backpack is tax-free. If you were to spend $60 on a backpack, you would only be taxed for $20. However, in a state like Massachusetts, if you go over the price limit -- $2,500 for all qualifying purchases -- the entire item is subject to sales tax. We recommend reviewing your state's full item list and rules to plan accordingly.

Can you save money by shopping during a tax holiday?

You can save money by avoiding sales tax during a tax holiday, particularly in states with high average state and local sales tax rates like Tennessee (9.55%), Arkansas (9.51%) and Alabama (9.22%). That said, you'll want to make sure you stick to a budget to avoid overspending and do your research on back-to-school deals. Some stores may offer lower prices on clothing, supplies and computers than you might receive by paying full price during a tax holiday.

Do all cities in a state holding a tax holiday participate?

Most states require all cities and businesses therein to participate in tax-free holidays. AlabamaFlorida and Missouri do not.

Sales tax holidays that have passed already this summer

Alabama

Dates: July 15 to 17, 2002 (passed)

Tax-free items:

  • Most clothing under $100 -- including pants, shirts shoes, coats and school uniforms -- as well as diapers. 
  • Sports and recreational equipment and clothing accessories are not included in the tax-free weekend. 
  • For the full list of items visit the Alabama Department of Revenue.

Arkansas

Dates: Aug. 6 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item.
  • School accessories: $50 or less per item.
  • Computers and selected school supplies.
  • View the full list of items on the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration website.

Florida

Dates: July 25 to Aug. 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $60 or less per item.
  • Select accessories: $60 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $15 or less per item.
  • Computers: Tax-free for the first $1,000 spent.
  • View the full list of items on the Florida Department of Revenue website.

Illinois

Dates: Aug. 5 to 14, 2022 (passed)

Reduced-tax items

  • School supplies and clothing items totaling under $125 will receive a 5% sales tax reduction.
  • View the full list of items on the Illinois Department of Revenue website.

Iowa

Dates: Aug. 5 to 6, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item, excluding athletic gear, backpacks and handbags.
  • View the full list of items on the Iowa Department of Revenue website.

Massachusetts

Dates: Aug. 13 to 14, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Retail items purchased for personal use (business purchases excluded): $2,500 or less, excluding meals, motor vehicles, motorboats, gas, electricity, tobacco, marijuana products and alcoholic beverages). 
  • View the full list of items on the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website.

Mississippi

Dates: July 29 to 30, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $100 or less per item.
  • View the full list of items on the Mississippi Department of Revenue website.

Missouri

Dates: Aug. 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing: $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $50 or less per item.
  • Computer software: $350 or less per item.
  • Personal computers: $1,500 or less per item.
  • Graphing calculators: $150 or less per item.
  • View the full list of items on the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

New Mexico

Dates: Aug. 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item.
  • Computers: $1,000 or less per item.
  • Computer software: $500 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $30 or less per item.
  • View the full list of items on the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue website.

Ohio

Dates: Aug. 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing: $75 or less per item.
  • School supplies and books: $20 or less per item.
  • View the full list of items on the Ohio Department of Taxation website.

Oklahoma

Dates: Aug. 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item, excluding athletic gear and uniforms.
  • View the full list of items on the Oklahoma Tax Commission website.

South Carolina

Dates: Aug. 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes.
  • Select accessories.
  • School supplies.
  • Computers.
  • View the full list of items on the South Carolina Department of Revenue website.

Tennessee

Dates: July 29 to 31, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item, excluding handbags, jewelry and sports gear.
  • School and art supplies: $100 or less per item.
  • Laptops, tablets and computers: $1,500 or less per item.
  • View the full list of items on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website.

Texas

Dates: Aug. 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $100 or less per item.
  • View the full list of items on the Texas Comptroller website.

Virginia

Dates: Aug. 5 to 7, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing and shoes: $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies: $20 or less per item.
  • Energy Star, WaterSense and hurricane preparedness items (with qualifying limits).
  • View the full list of items on the Virginia Department of Taxation website.

West Virginia

Dates: Aug. 5 to 8, 2022 (passed)

Tax-free items

  • Clothing: $125 or less per item.
  • Certain school supplies: $50 or less per item.
  • School books and instructional materials: $20 or less per item.
  • Laptop and tablets: $500 or less per item.
  • Sports equipment: $150 or less per item.
  • View the full list of items on the West Virginia State Tax Department website.