Tax Free Days: Back-to-School Savings

Tax Tips

The year seems to be flying by. Just yesterday kids were celebrating the last day of school, and you were reviewing your steps to financial independence and here we are planning our back to school shopping trips.

The past few years, a number of states have offered their residents a tax holiday, a few days or as long as a week where purchases up to a certain dollar limit are free of sales tax. On some purchases this can result in some nice savings, better $50 in your pocket than the state’s till. Hurry, some of these tax free days have already started happening!

Some states’ dates have passed, here are the ones in progress or coming up:

Connecticut – August 15-21

Florida – August 13-15

Illinois – August 6-15

Maryland – August 8-14

Massachusetts – August 14-15

Texas – August 20-22

Another break to be aware of this time of year is the tax deduction for school supplies teachers are able to take. This includes a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide who worked in a school for a t least 90 hours during the school year. Qualified expenses include ordinary and necessary expenses paid in conjunction with books, supplies, equipment and other materials used in the classroom. Sorry, expenses related to home schooling are not permitted.

It’s limited to $250 but fortunately it’s not an itemized deduction. There’s no threshold to exceed, the amount spent is deducted from your income on line 23 of your Form 1040.  Most teachers find they’ve reached into their pockets over the course of the school year. Get in the habit of placing the receipts in a safe place and get a break in April. Remember, the tax year is calender, not the September through June school year, so when you get back from Christmas break, it’s time to tally the old batch or receipts and start the new one.