What Is A Tax-Free Holiday & When Can We Celebrate?

Photographed by Megan Madden.
After you've left school for good and before you have children of your own, there is a time when "back-to-school shopping season" seems like a strange callback to the past. At least along with that residual anxiety — who here still has first-day-of-school nightmares? — you can also take advantage of all those sales. You may even be in one of the 16 states offering tax-free holidays for the season.
Tax-free holidays are days when states (and some cities) don't charge sales tax. Depending on where you live, that's an extra 5-9.5% off of your purchase. The types of things that are exempt in each state vary — sometimes it's just clothing, and sometimes it's school supplies and other items, too. (We've already missed the some of the earlier tax holidays that certain states put in place for buying energy-saving appliances and or disaster preparedness supplies.)
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After seeing massive discounts on other made-up retail holidays like Black Friday and Prime Day, it doesn't seem like much to save less than 10%. But like with any other sale, if you have certain things you were planning on buying anyway, you can do your research and see how you might shave off a couple of extra bucks by buying them on your local tax-free day. When you make your calculations, take into account the fact that you might get lured into buying yourself a new pencil case, just out of nostalgia.
Here are the sales tax-free holidays happening this summer in each state:
Alabama: You missed the July 19-21 tax holiday, sorry. For future reference, it exempted clothing and footwear for $100 or less, technology purchases under $750, school supplies under $50, and books under $30.
Arkansas: On August 3 and 4, clothing and accessories under $100, some other accessories under $50, and school supplies at any price are exempt.
Connecticut: From August 18-24, clothing and footwear purchases under $100 each are exempt.
Florida: From August 2-6, you'll be exempt for clothing, footwear, and accessories that are $60 (each) or less; school supplies under $15; and computers and computer accessories that are $1,000 or less.
Iowa: The state exempts clothing and footwear less than $100 on August 2 and 3.
Maryland: On August 11-17, clothing and footwear for $100 or less, and the first $40 of a backpack purchase are all tax-free.
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Massachusetts: On August 10 and 11, your purchases of almost anything under $2,500 is tax free.
Mississippi: From July 26-27, clothing, footwear, and school supplies less than $100 each are tax-free.
Missouri: The list for tax-free items from August 2-4 includes clothing at $100 or less, school supplies for $50 or less, computers for $1,500 or less, software for $350 or less, computer devices for $1,500 or less, and graphing calculators for $150 or less.
New Mexico: Tax-free weekend from August 2-4 exempts clothing and footwear less than $100, computers less than $1,00, computer items less than $500, and school supplies less than $30.
Ohio: On August 2-4, clothing $75 or less and school supplies $20 or less are tax-free.
Oklahoma: Clothing and footwear less than $100 are tax-free from August 2-4.
South Carolina: From August 2-4 there is no limit on the prices of clothing, school supplies, computers, books (for school assignments), musical instruments (for school), bedding, and bath products that are tax exempt.
Tennessee: From July 26-28, clothing that's $100 or less, school supplies that are $100 or less, and computers that are $1,500 are tax-free.
Texas: Clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks less than $100 each are tax-free from August 9-11.
Virginia: The tax-free holiday on August 2-4 includes clothing under $100, school supplies under $20, Energy Star products under $2,500, hurricane preparedness items under $60, and generators under $1,000.
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