Mark Your Calendar for Your State’s Tax-Free Weekend (or Week)

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A father holds his daughter as they reach for school supplies at Walmart.


Mike Brassfield, a staff writer for The Penny Hoarder, and his daughter, Annabelle Brassfield, reach for a school supplies box while shopping at Walmart Supercenter in St. Petersburg, Fla. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Back-to-school shopping may be exciting for the kids who get new gear, but less so for the parents who have to pay for it all.

A survey from the National Retail Federation found that parents with kids in elementary through high school planned to spend an average of $789.49 on clothing, electronics and school supplies last year.

Some shoppers will get a little relief as 16 states have tax-free holidays coming up in July and August, saving consumers from paying sales tax on certain school-related items.

Now, you may not save a ton of money by shopping during tax-free holidays. For example, if you bought $500 worth of clothes, shoes and school supplies during Florida’s tax-free weekend in a county where the sales tax is 6%, you would save about $30. But what parent wouldn’t want to save 30 bucks?

And if you use the tax-free holidays in conjunction with smart budgeting strategies and comparison shopping, you’ll save even more on your back-to-school supplies.

Some states’ tax-free holidays are held over a weekend, while others are a week long. Each state has different criteria for what merchandise won’t be taxed, and many states require the purchases to be under a certain price threshold.

And if you live in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon, every day is a holiday — those states don’t have a sales tax.

Tax-Free Weekends: When, Where and What

The 16 states that have back-to-school tax-free holidays this year are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Alabama

When: July 16-18

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — $100 or less.
  • Computers and related equipment — $750 or less.
  • School supplies — $50 or less.
  • Books — $30 or less.

Arkansas

When: Aug. 7-8

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.
  • Clothing accessories — less than $50 per item.
  • School supplies — no price threshold, but must be on the state’s list of approved items.
  • Computers and electronic devices — no price threshold, but must be on the state’s list of approved items.

Connecticut

When: Aug. 15-21

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.

Florida

When: July 31-Aug. 9

What is tax-free:

  • Computers and related equipment — $1,000 or less per item.
  • Clothing, accessories and shoes — $60 or less per item.
  • School supplies — $15 or less per item.

Iowa

When: Aug. 6-7

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.
A person shops for a book bag.
Getty Images

Maryland

When: Aug. 8-14

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.
  • Bookbags/backpacks — the first $40 is tax-free.

Massachusetts

When: Aug. 14-15

What is tax-free:

  • Most consumer products — $2,500 or less per item.
  • Clothing — Massachusetts does not charge any sales tax on clothes under $175 year round.

Mississippi

When: July 30-31

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing, shoes and school supplies — less than $100 per item.

Missouri

When: Aug. 6-8

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies — $50 or less per purchase (exception: graphing calculators must be $150 or less).
  • Computers and related equipment — $1,500 or less per item.
  • Computer software — $350 or less.

New Mexico

When: Aug. 6-8

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing, accessories and shoes — less than $100 per item.
  • School supplies — less than $30 per item (exceptions: backpacks, maps and globes must be under $100 and calculators must be under $200).
  • Computers — $1,000 or less per item.
  • Computer hardware — $500 or less per item.

Ohio

When: Aug. 6-8

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing — $75 or less per item.
  • School supplies — $20 or less per item.
  • School instructional materials — $20 or less per item.

Oklahoma

When: Aug. 6-8

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.
A little girl tries on shoes.
Getty Images

South Carolina

When: Aug. 6-8

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing, accessories and shoes — no price threshold.
  • School supplies — no price threshold.
  • Computers and related equipment — no price threshold.
  • Bedding, pillows, bath towels, wash cloths and shower curtains — no price threshold.
  • Books and musical instruments — no price threshold (if they are for school assignments).

Tennessee

When: July 30-Aug. 1

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies — $100 or less per item.
  • Computers — $1,500 or less per item.

Texas

When: Aug. 6-8

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.
  • School supplies — less than $100 per item.

Virginia

When: Aug. 6-8

What is tax-free:

  • Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.
  • School supplies — $20 or less per item.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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