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Tax-Free Weekend Guide: When and How To Participate

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Did you know that several states host events where shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax? While is known for its deals and bargains, these tax-free weekends are a great time to purchase clothing, footwear, school supplies and more while saving some money.

These events usually take place around back-to-school time to help with the costs of school supplies for elementary, secondary and , but some states host tax-free weekends at different times of the year. We’ve put together a guide to help you take advantage of your state’s tax-free weekend deals. Check it out below!

What Is Tax-Free Weekend?

A tax-free weekend is a tax holiday that’s hosted by a state government. The first modern tax holiday occurred in New York in 1997, and the trend continues today. During these tax holidays, consumers don’t have to pay sales tax on eligible items, which are usually related to school and emergency supplies. However, some states have included some unusual items in their tax-free weekends in the past.

For example, in 2019, Mississippi allowed hunting supplies to be exempt from sales tax, which included firearms and ammunition. Texas has also included appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners in their tax holidays. While tax-free weekends are usually geared toward school supplies and clothing, you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes open for exemptions on larger purchases.

When Is Tax-Free Weekend?

While many tax-free weekends take place in the summer (around time), some states offer tax holidays at other times of the year. These other events typically coincide with storm seasons so consumers can with a bit of a break on their wallets.

You may also want to pay close attention to the dates that your state is hosting its tax-free weekend — some states hold these events for an entire week!

Which States Participate in Tax-Free Weekend?

In 2021, 16 states will be participating in tax-free weekends or events. Several states have made it a law to host tax holidays annually, so you may want to check if this is the case for your state. In addition to the states below, there are five states with no sales tax at any time of the year — Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.

We’ve included the details for this year’s tax-free weekend events below, and we’ve also put together an infographic to help you keep track of all the tax holidays taking place.

Alabama

When: July 16–18, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear $100 or less; computers $750 or less; school supplies $50 or less; books $30 or less

Arkansas

When: August 7–8, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear under $100; accessories under $50; electronics needed for school; school supplies

Connecticut

When: August 15–21, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear under $100 (athletic uniforms or gear are excluded)

Florida

When: July 31-August 9, 2021

Items: Clothing, footwear and backpacks $60 or less; school supplies $15 or less; personal computers up to $1,000

Iowa

When: August 6–7, 2021

Items: Clothing or footwear under $100 (backpacks, handbags, sporting equipment and athletic clothing and footwear are excluded)

Maryland

When: August 8–14, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear $100 or less; first $40 of a backpack or book bag

Massachusetts

When: August 28–29, 2021

Items: Retail items up to $2,500 per item (motor vehicles, motorboats, meals, gas, steam, electricity, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages are excluded)

Mississippi

When: July 30–31, 2021

Items: Clothing, footwear and school supplies under $100

Missouri

When: August 6–8, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear $100 or less; personal computers $1,500 or less; school supplies $50 or less; graphing calculators $150 or less; computer software $350 or less

New Mexico

When: August 6–8, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear under $100; school supplies under $30 per item; computers under $1,000; computer hardware under $500

Ohio

When: August 6–8, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear $75 or less; school supplies $20 or less per item; school instructional materials $20 or less

Oklahoma

When: August 6–8, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear under $100 (accessories and athletic clothing or gear is excluded)

South Carolina

When: August 6–8, 2021

Items: Clothing, accessories, footwear, computers, computer software, select bed and bath items

Tennessee

When: July 30-August 1, 2021; July 30-August 5, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear $100 or less; school supplies $100 or less per item; personal computers $1,500 or less. Food, food ingredients and prepared foods are exempt from sales tax until August 5.

Texas

When: August 6–8, 2021

Items: Most clothing, footwear and school supplies under $100

Virginia

When: August 6–8, 2021

Items: Clothing and footwear $100 or less; school supplies $20 or less (per item); Portable generators up to $1,000; gas-powered chainsaws $350 or less; chainsaw accessories $60 or less; Other hurricane preparedness items $60 or less; Energy Star and WaterSense products $2,500 or less

How Can I Make the Most of Tax-Free Weekend?

Tax-free weekends and events offer consumers a chance to save money on significant purchases, but it can be overwhelming to make sure you’ve checked off everything on your shopping list. From exclusions on different items to the amount of time you have to actually make a tax-exempt purchase, there’s a lot to keep in mind before you go out and shop. We’ve rounded up some helpful tips to make sure you maximize your state’s tax holiday (and your savings!).

Check the duration of your state’s tax holiday: In some states, the tax holidays last longer than just one weekend. Take a look and see if your tax holiday lasts a few days or more to maximize your savings.

See if your state offers more than one tax holiday: Some states who have tax-free weekend events offer multiple tax holidays. While those listed above are for the back-to-school season, some areas offer tax holidays that coincide with storm seasons so consumers can stock up on disaster preparedness supplies. Take a look and see if your state has more than one tax-free event.

Look for online deals: Major online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Target also participate in tax-free weekends. If you live in a state that participates, check these retailers to save on your online purchases.

Make sure your purchase qualifies: There are many conditions to keep in mind for tax-free purchases during these events, such as price caps and exclusions on certain items. Double check that your purchase qualifies by reviewing your state’s guidelines for tax-exempt purchases.

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Tax-free weekends are the perfect time to purchase back-to-school supplies and clothing for the new school year. But even if your state doesn’t host a tax holiday, you can still save on these items (and more!) with the Capital One Shopping browser extension. So get excited for the upcoming school year and get to shopping!

We hope that you found this blog helpful. Our content is not intended to provide educational, health, legal, tax, or financial advice. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional. Capital One Shopping does not endorse or guarantee any information or recommendations listed above.

Sources: The New York Times | WDAM | Investopedia | Alabama Department of Revenue | Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration | Connecticut State Department of Revenue Services | The Florida Senate | Iowa Department of Revenue | Comptroller of Maryland | Massachusetts Department of Revenue | Mississippi Department of Revenue | Missouri Department of Revenue | New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department | Ohio Department of Taxation | Oklahoma Tax Commission | South Carolina Department of Revenue | Tennessee Department of Revenue | Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts | Virginia Tax