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Sales Tax Holiday Rebellion

  • Nov 27, 2015 | Gail Cole

 It's here...

Today is Black Friday, the day of deep discounts and colossal crowds that marks the start of holiday shopping. This brings to mind another type of holiday — sales tax holidays.

Just as some stores rebel against the holiday shopping frenzy by not opening on Thanksgiving or closing on Black Friday, some states sometimes rebel against sales tax holidays. They may dabble in them, offering them some years but not others. Or they may outright repeal them.

Businesses that shutter on Black Friday (we won’t name names) could cause confusion to customers who haven’t heard the news. States with mercurial sales tax holiday policies can create chaos for retailers: It’s against the law to collect sales tax on eligible items during a sales tax holiday, and sellers need time to change point of sale systems and train employees.

The states listed below have offered sales tax holidays in the past but no longer do. But no one knows what the future will hold — they may one day offer a new tax-free period.

  • The District of Columbia offered a sales tax holiday for school supplies, clothing and footwear 2001-2009, with the exception of 2003.
  • Illinois tried one sales tax holiday, in 2010.
  • New York offered tax-free periods for clothing and footwear from 1997 to 2006, with the exception of 2001 and 2002. The state now boasts a year-round state sales tax holiday on clothing and footwear costing less than $110.
  • North Carolina offered tax-free periods from 2002 to 2013. The August and November holidays were repealed effective 2014.
  • Pennsylvania ran sales tax holidays for personal computers from 2002 to 2002. 72 PA. CONS. STAT. § 7204(58) was then repealed.
  • Vermont held a variety of tax-free periods for computers, Energy Star products, and even general taxable goods. They were held in 2003, 2004 2008, 2009 and 2010
  • West Virginia offered tax-free periods for clothing, school supplies and Energy Star products in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Special mention

Massachusetts gets special mention for waiting until the last minute to approve its 2015 sales tax holiday. The legislation was enacted on August 6 and the holiday took place August 15-16. The 2014 tax-free period was also announced at the last minute.

Simplify sales tax compliance in all states, those with sales tax holidays, sometimes sales tax holidays, and no sales tax holidays.

Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
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.