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Extreme Sales Tax Holiday Weekend Starts August 7, 2015


 Celebrate August sales tax holidays (the bubbly is not exempt)

Although tax-free periods can and do occur any time of year, summer is definitely the season for them. This year, one weekend more than any other seems to be THE time to host a sales tax holiday. Twelve tax-free periods start Friday, August 7.

Alabama Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-9

The Alabama sales tax holiday is unique in that local tax jurisdictions opt to participate in the tax-free period or not. Although state sales tax does not apply to qualifying items in any location, local sales tax may apply. For the most up-to-date list of participating and non-participating localities, please see the Alabama Department of Revenue (click on the link above).

Exempt:

  • Clothing and footwear costing $100 or less per item/pair
  • Computers, computer software and school computer supplies costing $750 or less per single purchase
  • School supplies, school art supplies and school instructional materials costing $50 or less per item
  • Books costing $30 or less

Florida Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-16

The Florida tax-free period lasts more than a week and during it, no sales tax or local option tax may be collected on the following:

  • Clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $100 or less per item/pair
  • Certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item
  • Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories on the first $750 of the sales price (sales tax kicks in on amounts over that threshold)

Iowa Annual Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-8

The Iowa tax-free period is for two days only and applies articles of clothing or footwear with a selling price less than $100. Items costing more than $100 are not eligible.

Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday August 7-8

The Louisiana tax-free period applies only to state sales tax. Sales taxes levied by the municipalities, counties, school boards or other political subdivisions apply to all sales. However, there are no price caps or product limitations: “The exemption applies statewide to all consumer purchases of tangible personal property, other than vehicles subject to license and title and meals furnished for consumption on the premises….”

Missouri Back to School Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-9

Local tax jurisdictions are not required to participate in the Missouri tax-free period. As a result, although qualifying items are exempt from the state sales tax, city, county, and special local sales taxes may apply.

The exemption applies to the following:

  • Clothing and footwear “intended to be worn on or about the human body.” There is no price restriction but the exemption does not apply to watches, watchbands, jewelry, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands, or belt buckles.
  • Personal computers: laptop, desktop, or tower computer systems.
  • School supplies, including computer software having a taxable value of $350 or less.

For a complete list of non-participating jurisdictions and exempt and taxable items, please click on the above link.

New Mexico Back to School Tax Free Holiday, August 7-9

During the New Mexico tax-free period, the state suspends collection of gross receipts on sales of qualifying items. Eligible items are as follows:

  • Clothing or shoes priced at less than $100 per unit
  • Desktop, laptop, tablets or notebook computers with a price limit of $1000
  • Related computer hardware with a price limit of $500
  • School supplies costing under $30 per unit

Unlike in most other states, retailers are permitted to “absorb the tax” on non-qualifying items. According to the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, the event is “nothing short of a bonanza” for taxpayers with school-age children.

Ohio Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-9

In 2015 only, Ohio is offering a one-time sales tax holiday. Exempt items are as follows, provided they are purchased for personal and not business use:

  • Clothing priced at $75 per item or less
  • School supplies priced at $20 per item or less
  • School instructional material priced at $20 per item or less

Oklahoma Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-9

During the Oklahoma Tax-Free Weekend, sales of “any article of clothing or footwear designed to be worn on or about the human body” with a sales price less than $100 are exempt. The exemption does not extend to accessories or clothing and footwear designed primarily for athletic activity or protective use.

South Carolina Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-9

During the South Carolina Sales Tax Holiday, state and local sales and use taxes are not imposed on the following: “clothing, clothing accessories (e.g., hats, scarves, hosiery, and handbags), footwear, school supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, bookbags, lunchboxes, and calculators), computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software, and bath wash clothes, blankets, bed spreads, bed linens, sheet sets, comforter sets, bath towels, shower curtains, bath rugs and mats, pillows, and pillow cases. The sales tax holiday, however, does not apply to sales of jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches, furniture, rental of clothing or footwear, items for use in a business, or items placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plans.” There are no price restrictions.

Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-9

The following items are exempt from state and local sales and use taxes during the Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday:

  • Clothing: $100 or less
  • School supplies: $100 or less
  • Computers: $1,500 or less

For additional information, including an alphabetical listing of 2015 exempt and taxable items, please click on the above link.

Texas Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-9

All sales of qualifying items sold during the Texas Sales Tax Holiday are exempt from Texas state and local sales and use taxes. Qualifying items are “most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100.” Click on the above link to read Texas Comptroller’s “fine print.”

Virginia Sales Tax Holiday, August 7-9

The exemption from state and local sales tax during the Virginia Tax-Free Weekend applies to clothing and school supplies, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star and WaterSense products. As in New Mexico, retailers may “choose to offer other items ‘tax-free’ by paying the sales tax themselves during the holiday.”

The following price restrictions apply:

  • Qualified clothing and footwear: $100 or less per item
  • Qualified school supplies: $20 or less per item
  • Portable generators: $1,000 or less per item
  • Gas-powered chainsaws: $350 or less per item
  • Chainsaw accessories: $60 or less per item
  • Other specified hurricane preparedness items: $60 or less per item
  • Qualifying Energy Star or WaterSense-labeled products: $2,500 or less per item (noncommercial home or personal use only)

Click on the above link for detailed lists of qualifying items.

As evidenced by the above descriptions, different rules apply to each tax-free period. And in 2015, at least 17 states are offering more than 15 sales tax holidays. Price and product restrictions always vary by state and as a result, sales tax compliance becomes particularly challenging.

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Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.