Is inflation wreaking havoc on your family budget? Want to save some money on your back-to-school shopping? If so, see if your state (or one nearby) is holding a sales tax holiday this weekend. As every parent knows, the bill for new clothes, shoes, backpacks, and other school supplies can get very high, very fast. And when you add high inflation to the mix, it’s just outrageous. So, any discount you can get helps. That’s why some states cut you a break on back-to-school shopping by holding a tax-free weekend (or week) before the school year starts.
If you purchase qualifying items during one of these tax-free periodsthe store won’t tack on sales tax at the register. A few of these back-to-school sales tax holidays have already come and gone, but August 5 to 7 is the most popular weekend for them this year. In most cases, the sales tax holiday starts on a Friday and runs through the weekend. However, the exact start date, duration, and qualifying items differ from state to state. So, if you live in (or near) a state with one of these tax-free weekends going on now, make sure you know the right time and scope of the available sales tax exemption before you head out for your back-to-school shopping.
To get you up to speed, we’ve identified the 12 states with a sales tax holiday for back-to-school shopping running through (or starting) this weekend (August 5 to 7, 2022). There is also an overview of the sales tax exemption for each state and links to additional information. (Unless otherwise noted, the exemptions cover both state and local sales taxes.) The school year will be here before you know it…and we hope you can save a few bucks on taxes before it arrives during one of these tax-free weekends.
Sales tax rates and average combined state and local sales tax rates are from the Tax Foundation as of July 1, 2022.
Arkansas Tax-Free Weekend
You can save on back-to-school shopping in Arkansas on August 6 and 7 this year. During the state’s sales tax holiday, there is no sales tax on general clothing costing less than $100, various accessories priced below $50, electronic devices commonly used by students, school supplies (including art supplies), and school instructional materials. The exemption does not cover sewing equipment and supplies, protective equipment, sports or recreational equipment, belt buckles sold separately, and many other items. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has more detailed information about what’s exempt and what’s taxable during the tax-free weekend on its website.
Florida Tax-Free Week
Here’s some good news for Florida parents: The state’s back-to-school sales tax holiday runs for two weeks – and it’s already underway. This year, shopping in Florida got a little cheaper back on July 31, and it stays that way through August 7. The state’s sales tax holiday applies to clothing, footwear, backpacks, and certain other accessories costing $100 or less; school supplies costing $50 or less; learning aids and jigsaw puzzles priced at $30 or less; and personal computers or personal computer-related accessories costing no more than $1,500. “Clothing” includes wallets and handbags, but not watches or jewelry. The tax exemption also does not apply to sales made in a theme park, entertainment complex, hotel, or airport. For more information, including examples of qualifying items, see the Florida Department of Revenue’s website.
Illinois Tax-Free Week
The Illinois sales tax holiday for back-to-school shopping lasts over a week. It starts on August 5 and ends on August 14. However, the downside to the state’s tax-free holiday is that the state sales tax rate is only reduced to 1.25%, not eliminated, and local sales taxes, which can be as high as 5.25%, aren’t waived or reduced. The sales tax reduction applies to clothing and footwear priced at $125 or less and typical school supplies used by students in the course of study. Computers and related equipment are not included in the sales tax holiday. A more detailed list of what’s exempt and what isn’t can be found on the Illinois Department of Revenue Service’s website.
Iowa Tax-Free Weekend
- State sales tax rate: 6%
- Average combined state and local sales tax rate: 6.94%
- Dates of sales tax holiday: August 5 to 6, 2022
- Go to the Iowa State Tax Guide
In Iowa, there’s no sales tax on clothing or footwear sold for less than $100 on August 5 and 6. The exemption applies to each article priced under $100 regardless of how many items are sold to a customer. However, it does not apply in any way to the price of an item selling for $100 or more. There’s also a long list of specific items that don’t qualify for the exemption, such as watches, jewelry, umbrellas, sporting equipment, and special clothing or footwear designed primarily for athletic activity. A detailed list of what’s exempt and what’s taxable can be found on the Iowa Department of Revenue’s website.
Missouri Tax-Free Weekend
Missouri’s tax-free weekend for certain back-to-school purchases begins on August 5 and ends August 7. During the holiday, sales of school supplies costing $50 or less, clothing priced up to $100, graphing calculators valued at $150 or less, computer software costing $350 or less, and personal computers and peripheral devices priced up to $1,500 are exempt from sales tax. Cities, counties, and special tax districts choose whether they will participate in the back-to-school sales tax holiday. Cities, counties, and special taxing districts can opt in or out of this holiday for their local sales tax (click the city, county and district links to see lists of local jurisdictions note participating in the sales tax holiday).
New Mexico Tax-Free Weekend
New Mexico’s 2022 back-to-school sales tax holiday runs from August 5 to 7. During the holiday, there’s no gross receipts (sales) tax on clothing or footwear priced at less than $100; computers costing up to $1,000; related computer hardware priced at $500 or less; book bags, backpacks, maps and globes valued at under $100; handheld calculators for under $200; and basic school supplies priced under $30. However, the tax exemption does not apply to watches, radios, CD players, headphones, sporting equipment, cell phones, portable desktop telephones, copiers, office equipment, furniture, or fixtures. The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department has a detailed list of what is or isn’t covered on its website.
Ohio Tax-Free Weekend
- State sales tax rate: 5.75%
- Average combined state and local sales tax rate: 7.24%
- Dates of sales tax holiday: August 5 to 7, 2022
- Go to the Ohio State Tax Guide
This year, Ohio’s back-to-school sales tax holiday is from August 5 to 7. During this time, there’s no sales tax on purchases of clothing priced at $75 or less, school supplies priced at $20 or less, and school instructional materials priced at $20 or less. Clothing accessories, protective equipment, sewing equipment and supplies, sports or recreational equipment, belt buckles, costume masks, patches and emblems, and items used in a trade or business are not exempt. The Ohio Department of Taxation has more information about what is or isn’t exempt during the sales tax holiday on the FAQ section of its website.
Oklahoma Tax-Free Weekend
In Oklahoma, the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday is from August 5 to 7 this year. During the holiday, sales of clothing or footwear are tax-free if the sales price is less than $100. The sales tax exemption doesn’t apply to the sale of accessories (eg, jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches, and other similar items), special clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use, or to the rental of clothing or footwear (eg, tuxedo or bowling shoe rentals). A nonexclusive list of “clothing” that is exempt from sales tax during the holiday is on the Oklahoma Tax Commission’s website.
South Carolina Tax-Free Weekend
Shoppers in South Carolina should plan to buy their back-to-school gear from August 5 to 7 this year. That’s when they can avoid paying sales tax on purchases of clothing, footwear, accessories, school supplies, computers, software, printers, printer supplies, and certain bed and bath supplies. The exemption does not, however, apply to sales of jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches, furniture, or any item to be used in a trade or business. The rental of clothing or footwear is taxable, too. Additional examples of items that are both exempt and taxable items during the sales tax holiday are posted on the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s website.
Texas Tax-Free Weekend
- State sales tax rate: 6.25%
- Average combined state and local sales tax rate: 8.2%
- Dates of sales tax holiday: August 5 to 7, 2022
- Go to the Texas State Tax Guide
Texas holds a tax-free weekend for back-to-school shoppers from August 5 to 7. During this annual sales tax holiday, you can buy most clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks without having to pay sales tax if the item purchased is sold for less than $100. The Texas Comptroller’s office has lists of exempt and taxable items for clothing, footwear and other items and for school supplies on its website.
Virginia Tax-Free Weekend
- State sales tax rate: 5.3% (includes mandatory 1% local tax)
- Average combined state and local sales tax rate: 5.75%
- Dates of sales tax holiday: August 5 to 7, 2022
- Go to the Virginia State Tax Guide
Virginia’s sales tax holiday applies to much more than just back-to-school supplies. From August 5 to 7, you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, energy-efficient appliances, and water-saving products without paying sales tax. However, for purchases to be tax-free, the items sold cannot exceed certain price limits. For instance, school supplies can’t be sold for more than $20, and clothing and footwear must be priced at $100 or less. For hurricane and emergency preparedness products, portable generators can’t cost more than $1,000, gas-powered chainsaws must be sold for $350 or less, chainsaw accessories must be priced at or below $60, and other hurricane preparedness items can’t be sold for more than $60. Energy-efficient (Energy Star) and water-saving (WaterSense) products cannot be priced above $2,500. The Virginia Department of Taxation has lists of exempt and taxable school supplies, clothing, and footwear; hurricane and emergency preparedness products; and Energy Star and WaterSense products on its website (click on links to view lists).
West Virginia Tax-Free Weekend
This weekend’s sale tax holiday in West Virginia stretches to Monday. You can start shopping tax-free for school supplies on August 5 and continue until August 8. Clothing (including footwear), school supplies and instructional material, computers, and even some sports equipment qualify for the sales tax break if they’re priced below certain thresholds. For example, clothing can’t be priced above $125. School supplies must cost $50 or less, while school instruction materials must cost $20 or less. Laptops and tablets must have a purchase price of $500 or less, and eligible sporting equipment can’t cost more than $150. More information about what is or isn’t exempt during the sales tax holiday is available on the West Virginia State Tax Department’s website.