2021 sales tax holidays

Last updated July 8, 2021; originally published January 2021.

A sales tax holiday is a limited period of time during which otherwise taxable products are exempt from sales tax. Approximately 17 states provide sales tax holidays each year; in most, the temporary sales tax exemption applies to specific products only, such as school supplies or energy-efficient appliances.

States have sales tax holidays (aka, tax-free periods) for several reasons. They tend to be popular with consumers because they help them save money. Although they can complicate tax compliance, business owners usually like them because they bring people through the door. (At least they did, before the COVID-19 pandemic.) They can also encourage purchases of certain items, like emergency preparedness supplies.

Tax-free periods follow a predictable cadence in most states because they’re annual, meaning they’ll take place every year unless specifically eliminated — which does sometimes happen. Thus, Alabama’s severe weather preparedness holiday always takes place during the last full weekend of February, and Iowa’s clothing and footwear holiday always starts the first Friday in August.

Some states, like Florida, often enact a one-time sales tax holiday. For one reason or another, lawmakers in these states seem to prefer one-time holidays over annual holidays.

Below is a list of 2021 sales tax holidays, with links to the most up-to-date information provided by state tax departments. Some departments tend to update their pages closer to the start of a tax-free period. 

State-by-state guide to 2021 sales tax holidays

Alabama

  • Severe weather preparedness, February 26–28, 2021
    • Portable generators priced $1,000 or less
    • Variety of supplies priced $60 or less
  • Back to school, July 16–18, 2021
    • Books priced $30 or less
    • Clothing priced $100 or less
    • Computers, computer software, and school computer supplies priced $750 or less
    • School supplies priced $50 or less

Alabama sales tax holidays apply to state sales tax. Depending on the location of the sale, local sales tax may apply. Click on the links above to find participating counties and municipalities.

 

Arkansas

  • Back to school, August 7–8, 2021
    • Clothing priced less than $100
    • Clothing accessories and equipment priced less than $50
    • Electronic devices (no price restriction)
    • School supplies (no price restriction)
    • Applies to state and local sales tax

All retailers are required to participate and may not charge tax on qualifying items during the sales tax holiday.

 

Connecticut

  • Clothing and footwear, August 15–21, 2021
    • Qualifying items priced less than $100
    • Applies to state sales tax only (Connecticut has no local tax)

 

Florida

  • Disaster preparedness, May 28–June 6, 2021
    • Reusable ice priced $20 or less
    • Flashlights and lanterns priced $40 or less
    • Certain radios and batteries priced $50 or less
    • Nonelectric food storage cooler priced $60 or less
    • Portable power bank priced $60 or less
    • Tarps and ground anchor systems priced $100 or less 
    • Generators priced $1,000 or less
  • Clothing and school supplies, July 31–August 9, 2021
    • Qualifying clothing, footwear, and backpacks priced $60 or less
    • School supplies priced $15 or less
    • The first $1,000 of the sales price of personal computers or personal computer-related accessories
  • Recreation supplies and admissions, July 1–7, 2021
    • Annual passes to state parks and other admissions
    • Boating and water supplies (various price caps)
    • Camping supplies (various price caps)
    • Fishing supplies (various price caps)
    • General outdoor supplies (various price caps)
    • Sports equipment (various price caps)

 

Iowa

  • Clothing and footwear, August 6–7, 2021
    • Qualifying items priced under $100
    • Applies to state and local sales tax

All businesses open on these days are required to participate and cannot advertise that they’ll pay or absorb the sales tax on nonqualifying items.

 

Louisiana

Act 1 (2018) temporarily removes the state’s three annual sales tax holidays from the list of approved sales and use tax exclusions and exemptions in Louisiana until June 30, 2025.

However, Act 1 doesn’t affect local sales and use tax exemptions in effect during the Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend sales tax holiday.

  • Second Amendment, September 3–5, 2021
    • Specified ammunition, firearms, and hunting supplies
    • Qualifying items may be exempt from local sales tax in some jurisdictions, but state sales tax applies

 

Maryland

 

Massachusetts

  • Sales tax holiday, August 14–15, 2021  
    • Single items of tangible personal property priced $2,500 or less

All businesses, including internet vendors, must participate in the sales tax holiday.

 

Mississippi

  • Sales tax holiday, July 30–July 31, 2021
    • Clothing and footwear priced less than $100
    • Specific school supplies priced less than $100
    • Applies to state and local sales tax
  • Second Amendment weekend, August 27–29, 2021
    • Ammunition, firearms, and certain hunting supplies (no price restriction)
    • Applies to state and local sales tax

 

Missouri

  • Show-Me Green sales tax holiday, April 19–25, 2021
    • Energy Star products priced $1,500 or less
  • Back to school, August 6–8, 2021
    • Clothing priced $100 or less
    • Personal computers and computer peripheral devices priced $1,500 or less
    • Computer software priced $350 or less
    • Graphing calculators priced $150 or less
    • School supplies priced $50 or less

Missouri sales tax holidays apply to state sales tax. Depending on the location of the sale, local sales tax may apply. Click on the links above to find participating counties and municipalities.

 

New Mexico

  • Tax holiday, August 6–8, 2021
    • Bookbags, backpacks, maps, and globes priced under $100
    • Clothing, footwear, and accessories priced less than $100
    • Computers (desktop, laptop, or notebook) priced up to $1,000 (includes ereaders with computing functions and tablets)
    • Computer-related items (e.g., keyboards, microphones, monitors, mouse, or speakers) priced up to $500
    • Handheld calculators priced under $200
    • School supplies priced under $30
    • Retailers aren’t required to participate in the back-to-school tax holiday
  • Small Business Saturday gross receipts tax holiday, November 27, 2021  
    • During the sales tax holiday, retailers that maintain their primary place of business in New Mexico and employ no more than 10 employees at any one time don’t have to charge customers gross receipts tax on most (but not all) tangible personal property with a sales price of less than $500. 

New Mexico imposes a gross receipts tax rather than a sales tax. Retailers electing to participate in the tax holiday may claim a deduction for qualifying items. Additional details can be found at FYI-105 New Mexico Gross Receipts & Compensating Taxes: An Overview (PDF).

 

Ohio

  • Sales tax holiday, August 6–8, 2021
    • Clothing priced $75 or less
    • School instructional materials priced $20 or less
    • School supplies priced $20 or less
    • Applies to state and local sales tax; participation is mandatory

 

Oklahoma

  • Sales tax holiday, August 6­–8, 2021
    • Clothing and footwear priced less than $100
    • Applies to state and local sales tax

 

Puerto Rico

  • Back to school, January 8–9, 2021; July 2021, dates TBD
    • School materials
    • School uniforms and footwear

 

South Carolina

  • Sales tax holiday, August 6–8, 2021
    • Clothing and footwear
    • Computers, printers and printer supplies, and software
    • School supplies
    • Select bed and bath items
    • No price restrictions on eligible goods
    • Applies to state and local tax

 

Tennessee

  • Sales tax holiday for gun safes and gun safety devices, July 1–June 30, 2021
    •  Retail sales of gun safes and gun safety devices
  • Sales tax holiday, July 30–August 1, 2021
    • Clothing priced $100 or less
    • Computers and tablets priced $1,500 or less (excludes software)
    • School and art supplies priced $100 or less
    • Applies to state and local sales tax
  • Food sales tax holiday, July 30–August 5, 2021
    • Retail sale of food and food ingredients
    • Retail sale of prepared foods, excluding alcohol
    • Applies to qualifying foods sold between 12:01 a.m. on July 30 and 11:59 p.m. on August 5; prepared food must be paid for by the customer during or prior to the exemption period and delivered or served during the exemption period

 

Texas

  • Emergency preparation supplies sales tax holiday, April 24–26, 2021
    • Hurricane shutters and emergency ladders priced less than $300
    • Portable generators priced less than $3,000
    • Specified emergency preparation supplies priced less than $75
    • Applies to state and local sales tax
  • Energy Star sales tax holiday, May 29–31, 2021
    • Energy Star air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less
    • Energy Star refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less
    • Specified Energy Star products, no price restriction
    • Applies to state and local sales tax
  • Water-efficient products sales tax holiday, May 29–31, 2021
    • Any WaterSense-labeled product may be purchased tax free during the sales tax holiday
    • Applies to purchases for business and personal use
    • No price restrictions
    • Certain water-conserving products (for residential use only) may be purchased tax free
    • Applies to state and local sales tax
  • Sales tax holiday, August 6–8, 2021
    • Clothing and footwear priced less than $100 (including cloth and disposable fabric face masks)
    • Specified school supplies and school backpacks priced less than $100 per item
    • Applies to state and local sales tax

 

Virginia

  • Sales tax holiday (three-in-one sales tax holiday), August 6–8, 2021
    • Clothing and footwear priced $100 or less
    • Energy Star and WaterSense products priced at $2,500 or less
    • Gas-powered chain saws priced $350 or less
    • Portable generators priced $1,000 or less
    • School supplies priced $20 or less
    • Specified hurricane and emergency preparedness supplies (including chain saw accessories) priced $60 or less
    • Applies to state and local sales tax

 

West Virginia

  • Back to school, July 30–August 2, 2021
    • Clothing and footwear priced $125 or less
    • Computers (laptop or tablet) priced $500 or less
    • School instructional materials priced $20 or less
    • School supplies priced $50 or less
    • Sports equipment priced $150 or less

Sales tax holidays and online sellers

43 states, the District of Columbia, and many localities in Alaska now require certain out-of-state sellers to register with the tax department then collect and remit sales tax. Such remote sellers aren’t permitted to charge tax on qualifying goods during sales tax holidays.

More consumers than ever are likely to shop online during sales tax holidays because of COVID-19. Online retailers selling into multiple states should plan for a surge in sales during sales tax holidays in 2021 and prepare to exempt all items that qualify for the temporary sales tax exemption. It’s better safe than sorry.

For an up-to-date list of states with remote sales tax laws, visit this Avalara resource page.

This blog originally published January 20, 2021. It has been updated to reflect legislative changes. 

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