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Get Ready to Shop: State Sales Tax Holidays Are Back!

It's that time of year! State sales tax holidays are back just in time for back to school shopping - only this time, many states have extended exemptions to include every day items as well.

Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, and Guam impose sales taxes on the sale or lease of many goods. Five states actually have no state sales tax (though there may be local applicable sales taxes): Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. Of those forty-five states, just under half offer some sort of break on sales tax for school supplies, energy efficient appliances and hurricane preparedness. Most offer their holidays at the end of July or the beginning of August in order to attract back to school shoppers.

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Here are the sales tax holidays - with details - that I know about so far:

    Alabama. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. (CST) on Friday August 2, 2013, and ending at twelve midnight on Sunday, August 4, 2013, Alabama will hold its eighth annual sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, and clothing free of state sales or use tax. Local sales and use tax may apply.

    Arkansas. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday August 3, 2013, and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 4, 2013, Arkansas will hold its sales tax holiday allowing shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, school art supplies, school instructional materials, and clothing free of state and local sales or use tax. All retailers are required to participate and may not charge tax on items that are legally tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday.

    Connecticut
    . Beginning on Sunday, August 18, 2013, and ending on Saturday, August 24, 2013, sales or purchases of clothing or footwear costing less than $300 per item are not subject to Connecticut sales and use taxes.

    Florida. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2013, and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 4, 2013, no Florida sales tax or local option tax will be collected on sales of clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $75 or less per item, on certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item, and on personal computers and certain related accessories selling for $750 or less per item, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use. The exemption does not apply to any item of clothing selling for more than $75, to any school supply item selling for more than $15, or to any personal computer or related accessory selling for more than $750. Books are NOT exempt from tax during the 2013 sales tax holiday.

    Georgia. Beginning on August 9, 2013, and ending on August 10, 2013, certain items will be exempt from sales tax, including clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item (but not clothing accessories such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches, and watchbands); school supplies to be used in the classroom or in classroom-related activities with a sales price of $20 or less per item; and single purchases, with a sales price of $1,000 or less, of personal computers and personal computer-related accessories (but not cellular devices, furniture, and computer-related accessories designed for recreational use). Georgia will have a second sales tax holiday from October 4-6 on energy efficient products with a sales price of $1,500 or less per item and water efficient products with a sales price of $1,500 or less per item; the exemption does not apply to purchases for trade, business, resale, or commercial use.

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    Iowa. Beginning on 12:01 a.m., August 2, 2013, and ending on, August 3, 2013, no sales tax, including local option sales tax, will be collected on sales of an article of clothing or footwear having a sales price less than $100. The exemption applies to each article priced under $100 regardless of how many items are sold on the same invoice to a customer.

    Louisiana
    . Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2013, and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, August 3, 2013, the first $2,500 of the sales price of noncommercial purchases (not leases) of items of tangible personal property (not vehicles or meals) are exempt. The holiday will apply to the 4% state sales tax, but will not apply to the sales taxes levied by parishes, municipalities, school boards, and other political subdivisions of the state. The state will not observe a separate "Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday" as it did in 2010, 2011 and 2012; this year, guns are included in the regular sales tax holiday. The state also observed a hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday earlier in the year (May) which has expired.

    Maryland
    . Beginning on Sunday, August 11, 2013, and ending on Saturday, August 17, 2013, Maryland will observe its Shop Maryland tax-free week. Qualifying apparel and footwear $100 or less, per item, are exempt from the state sales tax. Accessory items are not included. Cities may elect to opt out of the sales tax holiday and retailers in those cities who have officially opted out of holiday may not participate.

    Mississippi.
    Beginning at 12:01 A.M. Friday, July 26, 2013, and ending on 12:00 Midnight Saturday, July 27, 2013, sales tax is not due on the sale of articles of clothing or footwear if the sales price of a single the item is less than $100

    Missouri
    . Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2013, and ending on Sunday, August 4, 2013, certain back-to-school purchases, such as clothing (any article having a taxable value of $100 or less), school supplies (not to exceed $50 per purchase), computer software (taxable value of $350 or less), personal computers (nnot to exceed $3,500) and computer peripheral devices (not to exceed $3,500) are exempt from sales tax. The state's Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday previously expired in April.

    North Carolina
    . Beginning 12:01 A.M. on Friday, August 2, 2013, and ending on 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, August 4, 2013, sales tax exemptions will apply to clothing, footwear, and school supplies of $100 or less per item; school instructional materials of $300 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item, computers of $3,500 or less per item; and computer supplies of $250 or less per item will be exempt. Clothing accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, protective equipment, wallets, furniture, items used in a trade or business, and rentals are not covered by the exemption. Additionally, between 12:01 A.M. on November 1, 2013, and ending on 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, November 3, 2013,certain Energy Star qualified products are exempt - with no cost threshold - from sales tax. This includes clothes washers, freezers, refrigerators, central air conditioners, room air conditioners, air-source heat pumps, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, and programmable thermostats.

    Oklahoma
    . Beginning at 12:01 am on Friday, August 2, 2013, and ending at twelve midnight on Sunday, August 4, 2013, Oklahoma will hold a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax. This includes state and any local sales taxes on the sales of any article of clothing or footwear designed to be worn on or about the human body with a sales price of the article of less than of $100. This does not apply to the sale of any accessories, special clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use that is not normally worn except when used for athletic activity or protective use, or to the rental of clothing or footwear.

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    South Carolina
    . Beginning on Friday, August 2, 2013, at 12:01 a.m. and ending on Sunday, August 4, 2013, at midnight, shoppers will benefit from an exemption of the 6% state sales tax and any applicable local taxes on certain items. During this time, the 6% state sales and use tax, and any applicable local sales and use tax, will not be imposed on clothing, clothing accessories (e.g., hats, scarves, hosiery, and handbags), footwear, school supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, bookbags, lunchboxes, and calculators), computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software, and bath wash clothes, blankets, bed spreads, bed linens, sheet sets, comforter sets, bath towels, shower curtains, bath rugs and mats, pillows, and pillow cases. The sales tax holiday, however, does not apply to sales of jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches, furniture, rental of clothing or footwear, items for use in a business, or items placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plans.

    Tennessee
    . Beginning at 12:01 a.m on Friday, August 2, 2013, and ending on Sunday, August 4, 2013, at 11:59 p.m., shoppers can enjoy tax-free purchases on certain clothing, school and art supplies and computers. Tax-free items include clothing with a price of $100 or less per item, school and school art supplies with a price of $100 or less per item and computers with a price of $1,500 or less. These items are exempt from state and local sales tax in Tennessee during the holiday.

    Texas
    . Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales taxes from August 9, 2013, to August 11, 2013, (note that this is a change from last year). As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. The state held an Energy Star sales tax holiday earlier in the year (May) and it has expired.

    Virginia
    . Beginning on August 2, 2013, and ending on August 4, 2013, purchases of certain school supplies, clothing and footwear will be exempt from the Virginia sales tax. Each eligible school supply item must be priced at $20 or less, and each eligible article of clothing and footwear must be priced at $100 or less. Additionally, during October 11-14, 2013, purchases of products meeting the Energy Star and WaterSense qualifications, such as certain energy-efficient appliances, will be exempt from sales tax. Eligible products must be priced at $2,500 or less for each item, and be purchased for noncommercial home or personal use. The state's hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday has expired (it was in May 2013).

    I'll be sure to update with more information as it becomes available.

    Finally, remember that some local governments may still charge sales taxes and some restrictions may apply — check your state's web site (links above) before you shop.

    --

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