Sixteen states offer some form of a sales tax holiday, commonly known as a “tax-free weekend.”
And considering sales tax reaches up to 9.47% in some states — like Arkansas — these aren’t wimpy savings.
Plus, if you’re like me, you have multiple kids who need clothing, shoes and school supplies including backpacks, lunch bags and maybe computers. We’re staring down a spend of a few hundred dollars this fall!
For this reason, I’ll shamelessly take all the savings wherever I can find them, thank you very much.
(Pssst…speaking of savings, download the KCL app so we can tell you when we see prices drop for back-to-school items!)
What is a “tax-free weekend?”
The term “tax-free holiday” also can also include hurricane preparedness and Energy Star product savings too. Those are separate holidays from back-to-school tax-free weekends, and they’re usually in the late winter and early spring. For our purposes, I’m only including tax-free weekends that offer back-to-school savings.
Use this tax-free weekend cheat sheet to find out which states offer it and when.
(Just click to open the table up and get the links to each U.S. States’ website with more details about tax free weekend. )
Does “tax free weekend” apply to online purchases?
Yes. As long as you make your qualifying online purchase while the sales tax holiday is happening in your state, you won’t pay sales tax, even if your item arrives after the tax-free weekend is over.
Does Amazon have a tax-free weekend?
Yes and no. Amazon doesn’t have it’s own special tax-free weekend. But Amazon will play ball with your state’s tax requirements. So, as long as you’re shopping Amazon during your state’s tax holiday weekend and what you buy qualifies as exempt, you won’t pay tax.
Amazon automatically charges sales tax on items that don’t qualify for your state’s tax-free weekend. Read more about Amazon and sales tax holidays.
On tax-free weekends in Texas, layaway is fair game.
As long as you’re either making a final layaway payment during a tax-free weekend or you’re choosing an item and setting up a new layaway order, you won’t have to pay sales tax in some states like Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and more.
Other stays don’t consider layaway as “qualifying” purchases at all. Check out the tax-free weekend cheat sheet to see what your (participating) state does.
Buy your school computer during the tax-free weekend in Florida.
Computers are exempt from sales tax up to a certain amount in a few states. In Florida, New Mexico and Missouri, it’s a $1,000 limit. If you live in Florida, you pay 6% sales tax, so that’s up to $60 savings.
Tennessee offers no sales tax on a computer purchase up to $1,500!
A few states (like Missouri) leave it up to each county to decide on participation.
This means that whether or not they’re offering a sales tax holiday depends on the county within the state. If you see your state is participating, double check that your county is also participating.
If you’re in a county that doesn’t participate, it might be a good excuse for a shopping road trip to a county that does if it’s close enough to you.
Avoid sales tax on all retail items during Massachusetts’ tax-free weekend.
You won’t pay sales tax on most retail items in Massachusetts up to $2,500. If you spend more than $2,500 on an item, you’ll be responsible for sales tax on the whole amount.
Clothing is an exception to this rule. During tax free weekend in Massachusetts, if your clothing purchase is under $2,500, you get the entire purchase tax free. If you go over $2,500, then only the first $175 is tax free. So for example, if you need to buy a wedding dress on tax-free weekend, make sure you don’t spend more than $2,500 on it!
Also, alcohol, tobacco, restaurant meals, vehicles, etc. don’t qualify for the sales tax holiday.
Maryland’s sales tax holiday actually lasts a whole week!
Hey ho, if you live in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon, there’s no sales tax anyway.
You already know this if you live in one of these states — raise your hand if you cringe whenever you have to buy something in a state with sales tax. Eww right?!
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