School Savings

Tax-Free Back-To-School Shopping Weekends Are On The Way

Eighteen states offer a tax holiday at the beginning of August, making it easy to save on school supplies and clothing.

A mother and her son shopping for back-to-school clothes. 18 states have tax-free weekends coming up...
SDI Productions/E+/Getty Images

There’s just something so exciting about back-to-school shopping. But it can also be stressful and expensive as hell. Between getting new clothes and color-coordinated folders and notebooks, though, back-to-school shopping adds up quickly, especially for families with multiple children. Luckily, tax-free weekend is coming for multiple states, making it an ideal time to make those shopping lists in preparation for some much-needed savings.

A tax-free weekend, or sales tax holiday, includes products like clothing, computers, shoes, school supplies, and, depending on where you live, hurricane supplies and Energy Star product savings as well. Most states limit how expensive an item can be to qualify for the tax-free weekend. Clothing and school supplies items often have to be under $100 to qualify, and larger items like computers have to be under $750 in many states to qualify. In Massachusetts, most retail items quality as long as you’re spending under $2,500, whether your purchases are related to school or not.

And the best news? These sales tax holidays also include online shopping. For super savvy shoppers, this can mean additional savings by combining online back-to-school sales with their state’s tax weekend benefits. It doesn’t matter when the shipment is expected to arrive — as long as you make your purchase during the tax-free weekend, you don’t pay taxes. Just check to make sure your online store participates — while the big hitters like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon absolutely participate, very small online shops may not.

This even includes Amazon. Still, as the company’s sales tax holidays policy outlines, the tax-free benefit only counts towards products that fall under the “back-to-school” umbrella, not an entire bulk purchase.

So what lucky states have tax-free holidays right before the school year starts? Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia all have tax-free weekends for school supplies throughout August, with many occurring the first weekend.

Just be sure to read up on your own state’s rules and details. For example, some states allow you to get discounts on layaway items, while others do not — or have limits. Other states, like Texas and Oklahoma, including baby items, like diapers and baby clothes, in their sale weekend. Some states, like Missouri, leave it up to individual counties whether or not to celebrate the tax break.

Florida’s sales tax holiday on school supplies already started on July 25 and continues through the first weekend of August. Tennessee’s tax-free weekend is the last weekend of July. Alabama’s sales tax holiday has passed for 2022 and was from July 15-17.

A full breakdown of each state’s sales tax holidays from the Federation of Tax Administrators can be seen here. And remember: if you’re a lucky resident of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon, you never have to worry about a sales tax at all.