With summer coming to an end, many families are preparing to start their shopping for the upcoming school year and may even come across a state sales tax break, according to CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business. These families can expect to save on sales tax on various school-related purchases in several states as the state sales tax collections will be dropped on select items such as clothing, footwear, school supplies, computers and other products.
“Consumers should be aware of specific information regarding the items that qualify for the holiday, in order to get the greatest tax savings,” said Carol Kokinis-Graves, JD, CCH Senior State Tax Analyst. “Generally, there are a number of restrictions that apply. State departments of revenue often provide administrative guidance that lists, with great detail, the items that are eligible for purchase on an exempt basis during the holiday and items that do not qualify.”
Rules for the sales tax holidays vary by state and occur on different weekends, with many taking place in early August. For the first time since 2009, Georgia enacted a new back-to-school tax holiday while New York increased the ceiling on its year-round sales and use tax exemption for clothing and footwear from $55 to $110, as of April 1, 2012.
In addition to offering tax holidays for back-to-school shopping, some states are also offering tax holidays for energy efficiency. Information for the tax holidays by state is below:
- Alabama: August 3-5. Clothing, excluding accessories and protective or recreational equipment, with a sales price of $100 or less per item; single purchases of computers, computer software or school computer equipment with a sales price of $750 or less; noncommercial purchases of school supplies, school art supplies and school instructional materials with a sales price of $50 or less per item; and noncommercial book purchases with a sales price of $30 or less per book.
Alabama also has a tax holiday for hurricane preparedness items, which was held earlier this year.
- Arkansas: August 4-5. Clothing with a sales price of $100 or less; clothing accessories or equipment with a sales price of $50 or less; and school art supplies, school instructional materials and school supplies.
- Connecticut: August 19-25. Clothing and footwear, excluding accessories and athletic or protective clothing, with a sales price of $300 or less per item.
- Florida: August 3-5. Clothing with a sales price of $75 or less per item and school supplies with a sales price of $15 or less per item. Items purchased within a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment or airport are excluded from the sales tax holiday.
- Georgia: August 10-11. Clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item; single purchases of personal computers and personal computer-related accessories with a sales price of $1,000 or less; and general school supplies to be used in the classroom or in classroom-related activities with a sales price of $20 or less per item.
Georgia will also hold an energy-efficiency sales tax holiday on October 5-7, which will apply towards the purchase of noncommercial energy-efficient and water-efficient products with a sales price of $1,500 or less per item.
- Iowa: August 3-4. Clothing and footwear, excluding accessories and athletic or protective clothing and footwear, with a sales price of less than $100 per item.
- Louisiana: August 3-4. The first $2,500 of the sales price on noncommercial purchases of tangible personal property, excluding vehicles and meals. In addition, St. Charles Parish will waive its local sales tax during this weekend.
Louisiana also holds two more tax holidays: one for hurricane preparedness, which was held earlier this year, and one for noncommercial purchases of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies, excluding the purchase of animals for hunting use. Louisiana is the only state that offers this state tax holiday, held September 7-9.