What states require you to collect sales tax on clothing?
Americans spend billions on apparel every year, and increasingly, they spend it online. Ecommerce sales of clothing, shoes, and accessories in the United States surpassed $180 billion in 2021 and are expected to exceed $295 billion in 2025. That translates to a lot of sales tax revenue for the states that tax apparel, which is a majority of states.
But of course, sales tax is rarely that simple.
A number of states tax some clothing but not all clothing, and several states that tax clothing by default provide an exception for certain clothing sales. More than a dozen states that typically tax clothing provide a temporary sales tax exemption for qualifying apparel during sales tax holidays or tax-free weekends. So when you get down to brass tacks, you can only be certain that all clothing will be exempt from sales tax in the handful of states that don’t have a sales tax at all.
Buckle up and read on for details.
States where all clothing is exempt from sales tax
Clothing is 100% exempt from sales tax in Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon — the states with no sales tax.
There’s no general, statewide sales tax in Alaska either, but about 100 of the 165 cities and boroughs in The Last Frontier have local sales and use taxes. Many of these jurisdictions tax clothes and footwear.
States where clothing is subject to sales tax
Clothing is generally subject to sales tax in almost 40 states, if you include Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. These are:
*Connecticut imposes a 7.75% luxury tax on sales of apparel, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, and watches with a sales price exceeding $1,000. This is significantly higher than the state’s general rate of 6.35%.
The sales and use tax on clothes is subject to limited exceptions in several states. For example:
Mississippi exempts apparel used in the production of motion pictures
Furthermore, a number of the above states provide a temporary sales tax holiday for clothing. Tax-free periods can last for a day, a weekend, a week, or even longer.
States where some clothing is exempt, and some is taxable
Alaska, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont tax some sales of clothing but not others. In general, the exemptions hinge on the price, the type of clothing, or another factor.
A couple of these states provide a partial exemption for clothing, meaning only a portion of the sale price is subject to sales tax.
Alaska sales tax on clothing
Alaska is a special case because, as noted above, it has no statewide sales tax but allows local sales and use taxes. So, while clothing is exempt in some parts of the state, it’s generally subject to local sales tax in Juneau, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Nome, and many other cities and boroughs.
Some jurisdictions in Alaska provide a sales tax holiday for clothing.
Massachusetts sales tax on clothing
Massachusetts is one of the trickier states when it comes to how clothing is taxed. While clothing and footwear priced $175 or less are generally exempt, Massachusetts sales tax applies to clothing or shoes priced more than $175.
However, sales tax only applies to the amount over $175. With the current tax rate of 6.25%, the tax on a $200 sweater would be $1.56 because only $25 of that $200 is subject to tax.
Note that apparel designed solely for athletic or protective use is taxable no matter the sales price, as are accessories such as handbags and jewelry. Examples of taxable apparel include athletic uniforms, bowling shoes, and cleated athletic shoes. There’s a list of exempt and taxable apparel and fabric goods on the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website.
Massachusetts provides a sales tax holiday for clothing.
Minnesota sales tax on clothing
- Clothing accessories
- Fur clothing
- Pet clothing
- Protective clothing
- Sports or recreational equipment
New Jersey sales tax on clothing
As in Minnesota, most articles of clothing and footwear designed for human use are exempt from New Jersey sales and use tax. Exceptions to that rule include the following items, which are subject to sales tax:
- Fur clothing
- Protective equipment (unless necessary for the daily work of the user)
- Sports or recreational equipment
The New Jersey Division of Taxation offers a list of taxable and exempt clothing and footwear in its Sales Tax Guide, along with some helpful tidbits. For example, it notes that while bowling shoes are taxable, bowling shirts are exempt “if suitable for ordinary street wear.
New York sales tax on clothing
New York is another tricky one, particularly with respect to local sales tax.
As a general rule, New York state sales tax does not apply to most clothing and footwear (for human use) sold for less than $110 per item/pair, or to items used to make or repair exempt clothing and footwear.
However, New York state sales and use tax does apply to clothing priced $110 or higher. Unlike in Massachusetts, the entire sale price is taxable when the price is $110 or above, not just the amount exceeding $110.
The following products are subject to New York’s state sales tax no matter their price:
- Athletic equipment and protective devices
- Costumes or rented formal wear
- Items made from jewels, metals, pearls, or precious or semiprecious stones that are used to make or repair exempt apparel
- Items used to make or repair taxable apparel
Local sales tax in New York
Apparel that qualifies for the state sales tax exemption is also exempt from the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) tax, where applicable, and from local sales tax in certain (but not all!) parts of New York.
As of March 2023, the following jurisdictions exempt eligible clothing priced less than $110:
- Chautauqua County
- Chenango County (outside the city of Norwich)
- Columbia County
- Delaware County
- Dutchess County
- Greene County
- Hamilton County
- Monroe County (effective March 1, 2023)
- Tioga County
- New York City
In all other jurisdictions in New York, local sales tax applies to clothing and footwear costing less than $110. Rates range from 3.5% in Ontario County to 4.875% in Yonkers.
Pennsylvania sales tax on clothing
Although most “wearing apparel” is exempt from Pennsylvania sales and use tax, some clothing is subject to sales tax.
The following products are taxable in Pennsylvania:
- Articles made from real, imitation, or synthetic fur, “where the fur is more than three times the value of the next most valuable component material”
- Formal day or evening apparel
- Sporting apparel and goods
A detailed list of taxable and exempt clothing and accessories can be found at the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue website.
Rhode Island sales tax on clothing
Clothing and footwear “intended to be worn or carried on or about the human body” are generally exempt from Rhode Island sales and use tax if “suitable for general use.” However, the exemption is capped at $250.
Unlike in New York, where crossing the $110 threshold transforms an item from entirely exempt to entirely taxable, Rhode Island sales and use tax applies only to the amount above the $250 cap. For example, if a sweater costs $275, sales tax applies only to $25. In this way, Rhode Island resembles its neighbor, Massachusetts.
The Rhode Island Division of Taxation provides a nifty cheat sheet to help retailers calculate the tax due.
Accessories such as belt buckles, briefcases, hair notions, handbags, and jewelry are taxable no matter their price, as are the following items:
- Costume masks when sold separately
- Protective equipment
- Sports or recreational equipment
Vermont sales tax on clothing
Most clothing and footwear sales are exempt from Vermont sales and use tax. However, sales and use tax applies to clothing accessories and equipment.
States with sales tax holidays for clothing
Nearly 20 states will exempt some apparel during their 2023 sales tax holiday: Alabama, Alaska (some jurisdictions only), Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia.
Details vary by state. For example: Puerto Rico has a tax-free weekend for school uniforms; Florida has a sales tax holiday for clothing primarily intended for children under the age of five.
Most states with a sales tax holiday set price caps for the temporary exemption. For more details, see 2023 sales tax holidays.
Does clothing tax apply to online sellers?
If you sell clothing online, you may be required to register then collect and remit sales tax in the states where you have customers. Whether you’re required to do so depends on whether you have nexus — a connection significant enough to establish a sales tax obligation with the jurisdiction.
There are several ways for a business to establish nexus:
- Economic activity in the state (e.g., $100,000 in sales or 200 transactions in a year)
- Physical presence in the state (this can include employees or inventory)
- Referrals originating in the state
- Ties to affiliates in the state
See our sales tax nexus guides for more detailed information.
Managing sales tax is a big job and, frankly, a thankless task. You won’t get kudos for getting sales tax right, but you can be penalized for getting it wrong. Automating sales tax collection and remittance can help take the weight off your shoulders, so you can focus on more rewarding aspects of your business.
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