A dozen states welcome August with sales tax holidays.
It's the usual sales tax holiday suspects. And although the annual events are often referred to as back-to-school tax holidays, there's a wide variety of items that are exempt for a few days from state and in many cases local sales taxes.
Not in N.C.: There is, however, one state missing. For the first time in 12 years, North Carolina won't be holding a sales tax holiday the first weekend of August.
The legislature canceled the late summer event, as well as a November tax holiday for Energy Star appliances, when it approved an overhaul of the North Carolina tax system that included lower corporate and personal income taxes.
Some North Carolinians, however, still might be making some shopping trips this weekend, especially if they live along the Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia borders. All of those neighboring states are holding sales tax holidays in the next few days.
The table below has details on the dozen early August sales tax holidays.
State sales tax rate shown; local rates also may apply
Tax holiday dates
| Tax-exemption items and per-item price limits. Links below provide full lists, details on tax-exempt items.
|Alabama 4%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3||Clothing priced at $100 or less. Books priced at $30 or less. School supplies priced at $50 or less. Computers and software priced at $750 or less.|
|Arkansas 6.5%||Saturday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 3||Clothing priced at $100 or less. Apparel accessories priced at $50 or less. No dollar limit on school supplies.|
|Florida 6%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3||Clothing, footwear and accessories priced at $100 or less. School supplies costing $15 or less. Personal computers and certain related accessories priced at $750 or less per item.|
|Georgia 4%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Saturday, Aug. 2||Clothing, including footwear, with a sales price of $100.00 or less per item. Personal computers and certain related accessories priced at $1,000 or less per item. School supplies costing $20 or less.|
|Iowa 6%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Saturday, Aug. 2||Clothing and footwear priced at less than $100.|
|Louisiana 4%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Saturday, Aug. 2||Most tangible personal property sold for $2,500 or less.|
|Missouri 4.225%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3||
Clothing priced at $100 or less. School supplies costing $50 or less. Computer software priced at $350 or less. Personal computers and peripheral devices costing $3,500 or less.
|New Mexico 5.125%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3||Clothing or shoes priced at less than $100 per unit. Desktop, laptop or notebook computers priced at $1,000 or less; computer hardware priced at $500 or less. School supplies priced at less than $30 per unit.|
|Oklahoma 4.5%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3||Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.|
|South Carolina 6%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3||No maximum price limit is imposed on purchases of clothing, footwear and accessories; school supplies; bed linens and bath furnishings; and computers, software and printers and printer supplies.|
|Tennessee 7%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3||Clothing and footwear costing $100 or less.
School supplies priced at $100 or less. Computers priced at $1,500 or less.
|Virginia 4.3%||Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3||Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less. School supplies costing $20 or less.|
Tax holiday shopping tips: Everybody loves a bargain. And most folks think that getting one at the expense of the tax collector is even better.
So don't blow your savings. Here are three easy ways to be a prepared tax holiday shopper:
- Check your state's tax holiday website to find out exactly what is tax-free.
- Make a list of the tax-free items you need or want.
- Stick to your list.
If you give in to impulse purchases, you'll blow any tax savings before you even get out of the mall.
Mark your calendars: Most of the so-called back-to-school tax holidays are the first weekend of August each year.
But some states operate on different timetables.
Four more states will hold their holidays later in the month. They are:
- Connecticut -- Aug. 17 through Aug. 23
- Maryland -- Aug. 10 through Aug. 16
- Texas -- Aug. 8 through Aug. 10
I'll post details on these states' tax holidays as the dates get closer.
"Wait," you say. "That's only three."
Massachusetts sales tax date debate: You are correct, dear readers. The fourth state that plans to hold an August sales tax holiday is Massachusetts.
Bay State lawmakers, however, haven't yet decided on the tax-free shopping days.
The Massachusetts House passed legislation approving a two-day sales tax holiday the weekend of August 16. The state Senate, however, passed a tax holiday bill for the weekend of August 9.
UPDATE, July 31: Massachusetts lawmakers opted for the Aug. 16-17 days for the Bay State's 2014 sales tax holiday.
The two chambers have until the end of session tomorrow, July 31, to decide on one holiday date.
Don't panic, Massachusetts shoppers. Last year they went down to the wire. The 2013 holiday event wasn't signed into law until eight days before the start of last year's tax-free weekend.You also might find these items of interest: