Summer really snuck up on us, huh? It’s already July and before you know it, school will be back in session. Many families do their best to find ways to save money on all that comes with back-to-school season.
From clothes and supplies to sporting equipment and computers, there are a lot of costs that come with attending school — especially as your child gets older and participates in more activities.
If you are looking for a way to save on your purchases, you can take advantage of sales tax holidays that usually coincide with back-to-school shopping in later summer. If you know you’re going to be spending the money, why not buy it on the right days to avoid your states’ sales tax?
What is a Sales Tax Vacation?
Since sales tax is collected at the state (or local) level, it’s up to states to decide to hold a sales tax vacation. Many states decide to declare a sales tax holiday during specific dates, for specific items, in order to boost purchases.
The idea is more about boosting the economy and encouraging spending. The thought is that more revenue will come down the pipe eventually as a result of the tax holiday. And, of course, there is the hope that consumers will spend on items that aren’t covered by the sales tax break while they are making their exempted purchases.
It’s also important to note that many states put caps on the amount of money you can save. Be aware of the limitations associated with a sales tax holiday before you buy. Look at your state’s sales tax vacation, and then make a list of school supplies that correlates with the items that you can save money on.
In some cases, it might make sense to cross state lines if your state hasn’t offered a sales tax holiday (and if the savings are enough to warrant the gas expenditure).
Realize, too, that some states jump on the bandwagon later in the summer. Pay attention to the states around you, as well as your own. With a little planning and effort, you can coordinate all of your back-to-school shopping so that you avoid the bulk of sales taxes and save money overall.
What States Offer Back-to-School Sales Tax Vacations?
If you want a vacation from sales tax for your back-to-school shopping, here are some of the sales tax holidays in different states for summer 2013:
- Alabama (August 2-4): Clothing, computers, school supplies, and books.
- Arkansas (August 3-4): Clothing and school supplies.
- Connecticut (August 18-24): Clothing and footwear.
- Florida (August 2-4): School supplies, clothing, and computers.
- Georgia (August 9-10): School supplies, clothing, and computers.
- Iowa (August 2-3): Clothing.
- Louisiana (August 2-3): All tangible personal property.
- Maryland (August 11-17): Clothing and footwear.
- Mississippi (July 26-27): Clothing and footwear.
- Missouri (August 2-4): Clothing, school supplies, and computers.
- New Mexico (August 2-4): Clothing, computers and computer equipment, and school supplies.
- North Carolina (August 2-4): Clothing, school supplies, instructional material, computers and computer equipment, and sports equipment.
- Oklahoma (August 2-4): Clothing.
- South Carolina (August 2-4): Clothing, school supplies, computers, and other items.
- Tennessee (August 2-4): Clothing, school supplies, and computers.
- Texas (August 9-11): Clothing, backpacks, school supplies.
- Virginia (August 2-4): Clothing and school supplies.
For those lucky folks in Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Oregon, you don’t get a sales tax holiday because you don’t have sales tax in the first place!