Here’s the Sales Tax Holiday in 2020 for Every State

You could save a lot of money if you know when you can shop tax-free in your state. See our sales tax holiday list.

Sales Tax Holidays Save Shoppers Money on Back-to-School

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A sales tax holiday can save you a good chunk of money — if you know when it is and how it works. Here's what you need to know to take advantage of a sales tax holiday. In 2020, the first few weeks of August are opportunities to save money in many states.

What is a sales tax holiday?

A sales tax holiday, also known as a tax-free weekend, is a period of time during which many states remove sales tax on certain types of items, such as apparel, computers and school supplies. Many states hold their no-tax holidays in and around August, just in time for back-to-school shopping.

Sales tax holidays are limited to a couple of days in most states — hence the name tax-free weekends — and typically restrict eligible purchases by criteria such as product and price. For example, you might be able to purchase computer models that cost up to $1,000 tax-free, but not models that cost more.

When is the sales tax holiday or tax-free weekend in my state?

Sales tax holidays vary by location — and not every state has one. In some cases, the state sales tax may be zero during the holiday, but stores might still have to collect a city or local sales tax. Keep in mind that some states already don't collect a state sales tax. Local governments (the city or county, for example) can still levy tax in those states, though.

Here’s a look at the states with sales tax holidays in 2020 and the items that will be tax-free, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.

2020 Sales Tax Holidays by State

State

Dates

Eligible merchandise / Maximum cost per Item

Alabama

July 17-19

Clothing / $100 Computers / $750 School supplies / $50 Books / $30

Arkansas

Aug. 1-2

Clothing / $100 School supplies / No maximum

Connecticut

Aug. 16-22

Clothing and footwear / $100

Florida

Aug. 7-9

Computers / $1,000 Clothing / $60 School supplies / $15

Iowa

Aug. 7-8

Clothing / $100

Maryland

Aug. 9-15

Clothing and footwear / $100

Massachusetts

Aug. 29-30

All tangible personal property $2,500 (except vehicles, food, gas, certain utilities, tobacco, marijuana)

MIssissippi

July 31 - Aug. 1

Clothing and footwear / $100 (Separate holiday Sept. 4-6 on firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies)

Missouri

Aug. 7-9

Clothing / $100 Computers / $1,500 School supplies / $50

New Mexico

Aug. 7-9

Clothing / $100 Computers / $1,000 Computer equipment / $500 School supplies / $30

Ohio

Aug. 7-9

Clothing / $75 School supplies / $20

Oklahoma

Aug. 7-9

Clothing / $100

South Carolina

Aug. 7-9

Computers, school supplies, clothing, shoes / No maximum

Tennessee

July 31-Aug. 2

Clothing and school supplies / $200 Computers / $3,000

Texas

Aug. 7-9

Clothing, backpacks, school supplies / $100

Virginia

Aug. 7-9

Clothing / $100 School supplies / $20 Energy star products / $2,500 Hurricane preparedness items / $60 Generators / $1,000

Source: Federation of Tax Administrators

How to save big with a sales tax holiday

Here are some tips for leveraging sales tax holidays to save on back-to-school shopping:

  • Reserve major purchases for late July or August. Wait to make major purchases, like laptops, until the tax-free period. If you can’t afford to make all of your school-related purchases at once, buy less expensive items, like pens and paper, at another time.

  • Keep an eye on the price tags. Typically, only items priced below the limit qualify for the tax-free treatment. If the limit is $100 on clothing, for example, then as long as each item of clothing in your cart is priced below $100, you should save on sales tax for those items. But if you're buying a pair of shoes priced at $125, you might have to pay sales tax on the shoes.

  • Check with the state for exceptions. Before you start shopping, head to your state's taxation and revenue website and find out if there are unusual exceptions. In New Mexico, for example, clothing is part of its tax-free weekend, but sports uniforms, bathing suits, elastic ponytail holders, fanny packs, purses, certain types of shoes and other items don't count, meaning they're still taxable.

  • Shop around. Eliminating sales tax shouldn’t be your only means of saving. Before you go shopping on a sales tax holiday, do your homework. Use websites like Google Shopping or apps such as Flipp to search for products by name and compare their prices at multiple merchants.

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