Tax-free summer weekends—hosted by 17 states this year—are timed for back-to-school buys. But the deals go well beyond backpacks and books.
In many areas, sales tax is around 7 percent, which means, for example, the price tag for that $1,500 laptop you want just dropped by about $100. (Online shoppers should keep in mind that sales tax will apply to the state where the product is shipped not where the retailer is located, says David Seiden, partner-in-charge of the state and local tax practice at Citrin Cooperman.)
Here’s how (and where) to save during tax-free weekends—starting this Friday.
Looking for new sweaters for fall? In Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, clothing is tax-free between August 5-7. Maryland offers tax-free clothing purchases from August 14-20, and Connecticut, August 21-27.
Most states still require shoppers to pay sales tax on footwear, even during tax-free weekends. But Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland are exceptions. Iowa shoppers can get tax-free shoes from August 5-6. In Connecticut, it’s August 21-27, and in Maryland, August 14-20. You can save on shoes in Mississippi, too, but their next tax-free holiday isn’t until July 2017.
You’ll likely get the biggest bang for your buck by timing computer and software purchases to a tax-free weekend. That’s an option from August 5-7 in Alabama, Missouri, New Mexico and South Carolina. (Louisiana is offering discounted, but not free, sales tax on August 5-6.)
Each state has its own limitations, so check the rules before you buy. For instance, Alabama offers tax-free purchases of computers $750 or less, while Missouri’s limit is $1,500. South Carolina shoppers don’t have to worry about limits at all.
Whether you’re heading back to school, or you’re stocking up your home office, tax-free weekends are an ideal time to purchase supplies. School and art supplies, and in some cases books, are tax-free from August 5-7 in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.