Here is good news for those of you living in places that normally charge sales tax on clothing and other items: Sales tax holidays 2012 are right around the corner. August is the most popular month for states to offer tax-free shopping tied to back-to-school shopping, and 16 states are doing so.
Something else to keep in mind: Now that some stores have brought back layaway, in certain states you can put something on layaway during this tax-free shopping time and, as long as the item fits the sales tax holiday criteria, you can pay for it over time, without paying sales tax, even if you make your final payment after the tax holiday is over. We’ve also got tips on saving money on school supplies.
Be sure to read the fine print on each state’s tax website. Note: the dollar amount shown is the price per item that makes something exempt from sales tax, unless explained otherwise. If you buy something more expensive, you will have to pay sales tax on the entire purchase.
Here is an alphabetical list of the sales tax holidays in August. Click on the state name for details:
- Alabama: August 3-5, 2012
You can shop for four (4) kinds of items in Alabama over the three-day sales tax holiday and not pay sales tax. Those items are most normal clothing ($100), a single purchase of a computer ($750), school, art and teacher supplies ($50), and books with an ISBN number ($30). Note: Not every county and municipality participates. Check the link above for a downloadable list of items that qualify for tax-free shopping.
- Arkansas: August 4-5, 2012
Arkansas has a pretty comprehensive list of items that, should you buy them during this tax holiday, will not incur tax. These include clothing ($100), clothing accessories or equipment($50) and art supplies, instructional materials and school supplies (though I couldn’t find a price limit for these three categories).
- Connecticut: August 19-25, 2012
Connecticut’s shopping holiday is pretty straightforward; you will not pay sales tax on clothing and footwear costing less than $300 during this period.
- Florida: August 3-5, 2012
No sales tax on clothing, footwear and some accessories costing less than $75, and certain school supplies selling for less than $15. You can find a comprehensive list of what qualifies for tax-free shopping on the Florida Department of Revenue website (linked to above).
- Georgia: August 10-11, 2012
Georgia shoppers are in luck. After not offering a sales tax holiday in 2010 or 2011, the state is offering two tax-free shopping days in August. Three kinds of purchases qualify: 1) clothing and footwear ($100) 2) computers ($1,000 for a single purchase) 3) school supplies ($20).
- Iowa: August 3-4, 2012
Iowa shoppers take note: the Iowa sales tax holiday is on Friday and Saturday only and it is just for clothing and footwear costing $100 or less per item.
- Louisiana: August 3-4, 2012
During this tax holiday, up to $2,500 spent on nearly all consumer goods (except cars) will be tax-free. (Local and parish taxes still apply.)
- Maryland: August 12-18, 2012
You’ve got nearly a full week to shop tax-free in Maryland for items retailing for $100 or less. And what you can buy–and not pay sales tax–isn’t limited to school-related purchases. The list of tax-exempt items ranges from athletic socks to windbreakers.
- Missouri: August 3-5, 2012
Five kinds of purchases fall under the Missouri sales tax holiday umbrella. They are computers ($3,500), computer peripherals, such as printers ($3,500), computer software ($350), clothing ($100) and school supplies ($50).
- New Mexico: August 3-5, 2012
The following will be tax-free in New Mexico: school supplies ($30, up from $15 last year; go New Mexico!), clothing and shoes ($100), computer-related hardware ($500) and computers – desktop, laptop, notebook or tablet ($1,000).
- North Carolina: August 3-5, 2012
Here’s what’s on North Carolina’s list: clothing, footwear and school supplies ($100); school instructional materials ($300); sports and recreational equipment ($50); computers ($3,500); and computer supplies ($250).
- Oklahoma: August 3-5, 2012
Oklahoma’s state sales tax holiday applies to shoes and clothing ($100) only.
- South Carolina: August 3-5, 2012
In South Carolina, nearly anything you buy during the sales tax holiday will be exempt from the state’s regular 6% tax. However, check the state’s tax page via the link above to find a comprehensive list of what qualifies as a tax-free purchase and what doesn’t.
- Tennessee: August 3-5, 2012
You’ll avoid paying state sales tax when you purchase clothing ($100), school supplies ($100) and computers ($1,500) during the Tennessee sales tax holiday.
- Texas: August 17-19, 2012
In Texas purchases costing $100 or less — clothing, backpacks and school supplies – all are tax-free.
- Virginia: August 3-5, 2-12
Only clothing ($100) and school supplies ($20) are eligible during Virginia’s state sales tax holiday.
In case you’re interested, here is a list that shows every sales tax holiday happening in 2012, including some for energy-efficient product purchases later this year.