Back To School sales tax holiday list for 2015

Back To School Sales tax holidayThe most complete list of all 17 states holding a Back To School sales tax holiday for 2015, updated July 14, 2015.  This list is complete with items sales tax will be suspended on, the upper price limit, the sales date ranges, when the sales were first initiated, and a link to where you can get more information.

The 2015 Back To School sales tax holiday will be held in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Keep in mind that while some states suspend the state portion of the sales tax during these Back To School specials, but county, city, or other local sales taxes might still apply if those municipalities are not participating the sales tax holiday.

Also consider that not all items are viewed equally in the eyes of the tax adjuster. Shoes may be considered an item of clothing in one instance, but “track shoes” may be considered sporting goods and not included along with the tax-free items during this Back To School sales tax holiday.

StateItems IncludedMax Price1st Year2015 DatesInformation Links
Alabamaclothing$1002006August 7-9http://www.revenue.alabama.gov/
computers$750
school supplies$50
books$30
Arkansasclothing$1002011August 1-2http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/
school supplies
Connecticutclothing and footwear$3002001August 16-22http://www.ct.gov/drs/
Floridaschool suppies2007+August 7-16http://dor.myflorida.com/
clothing$100
supplies$15
computers$750
Georgiaschool supplies2012+July 31 – August 1http://dor.georgia.gov/
clothing$100
supplies$20
computers$1,000
Iowaclothing$1002000August 7-8https://tax.iowa.gov/
Louisianaall taxable personal property$2,5002007August 7-8http://www.revenue.louisiana.gov/
Marylandclothing & footwear$1002010August 9-15http://www.marylandtaxes.com/
Mississippiclothing & footwear$1002009July 31-Aug. 1http://www.dor.ms.gov/
Missouriclothing$1002004August 7-9http://dor.mo.gov/
computers$3,500
school supplies$50
New Mexicoclothing$1002005August 7-9http://www.tax.newmexico.gov
computers$1,000
computer equip.$500
school supplies$30
Ohioclothing$752015August 7-9http://www.tax.ohio.gov/
school supplies$20
instructional material$20
>Oklahomaclothing$1002007August 7-9http://www.tax.ok.gov/
>South Carolinaclothing2000August 7-9http://www.sctax.org/
school supplies
computers
other
Tennesseeclothing$1002006August 7-9http://tn.gov/revenue/
school supplies$100
computers$1,500
Texaclothing, backpacks and school supplies$1001999August 7-9http://comptroller.texas.gov/
Virginiaclothing$1002006August 7-9http://www.tax.virginia.gov/
school supplies$20
energy star products$2,500
hurricane preparedness items$60
generators$1,000

Source: Federation of Tax Administrators

Texas sales tax relief

Texas sales tax relief on the legislative agenda

Sales tax relief is on the agenda for the state’s legislature with two bills presently under consideration. The first would lower the general sales tax rate for the first time in the state’s history, while the other would provide a unique tax “holiday” for hunters and gun enthusiasts.

Texas House Bill 32

On April 29, the Texas House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 31, which would reduce the statewide sales tax rate from 6.25% to 5.95%. This is only a floor, as individual cities, counties, transit authorities and other “special purpose districts” may impose additional sales tax. Under current law, the maximum sales tax in any Texas jurisdiction is 8.25%, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

If agreed to by the Texas Senate and signed into law by, House Bill 31 would take effect on January 1, 2016. The House concurrently passed a separate bill reducing the state’s franchise tax on business receipts. Texas Rep. Mark Keogh, a principal sponsor of both bills, said taxpayers would save nearly $5 billion if the two bills become law. “[S]ales and franchise tax cuts passed by the house will allow all Texans to retain more of their liquid cash in the immediate while extending tax cuts permanently into the future.”

Texas sales tax relief

The Texas Senate has proposed a “Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday” for August 29 – 30 this year that, if passed, would repeal the general sales tax from firearms and hunting supplies.

Texas Senate Bill 228

Meanwhile, the Texas Senate passed its own, narrower sales tax break on April 30. Dubbed the “Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday Act,” Senate Bill 228 proposes an annual two-day lifting of the state’s sales tax for purchases of firearms and “hunting supplies,” which would include “ammunition, archery equipment, hunting blinds and stands, hunting decoys, firearm cleaning supplies, gun cases and gun safes, hunting optics, and hunting safety equipment.” The tax holiday would take place on the final full weekend of August – this year, that would be August 29-30 – and is timed to coincide with the start of hunting season in Texas on September 1.

A Senate report argued the tax holiday is necessary because “retailers in East and Southeast Texas have been at a competitive disadvantage as it relates to their Louisiana counterparts.” Louisiana already has a sales tax holiday for firearms and hunting supplies during the first weekend of September. Mississippi and South Carolina also have similar holidays, according to the National Rifle Association. If signed into law, the Texas sales tax holiday is expected to reduce state revenues by about $3.6 million annually.

S.M. Oliva is a writer living in Charlottesville, Virginia. He edits the international legal blog PrivyCouncil.info

North Carolina repeals Back To School sales tax holiday

Since 1996 when New York State enacted the first sales tax holiday, similar initiatives have gained popularity in a growing number of states. Typically, sales tax holidays last for a weekend—usually in the beginning of August to coincide with back-to-school sales—and items such as school supplies, books, and clothing are included in the temporary tax break.

North Carolina is not holding a sales tax holiday for back to school shopping

North Carolina is not holding a Back To School sales tax holiday this year.

However, like all other tax exemptions, sales tax holidays come at an expense and the state of North Carolina has recently decided that the costs are too high to justify. The state’s sales tax holiday was first implemented in 2002 and was scheduled to take effect during the first weekend in August. It included items such as clothing, footwear, school supplies, sporting equipment, and computers. According to a notice posted by the North Carolina Department of Revenue, none of these will qualify for the annual tax holiday.

The repealing of the sales tax holiday represents just one aspect of a large scale budget overhaul negotiated by state lawmakers in recent weeks. The incentive is straightforward: repealing the tax holiday is estimated to save North Carolina more than $13 million in lost revenue, a sizable amount of money for a state struggling to balance its budget.

The state sales tax in North Carolina is presently 4.75%, but in most districts the actual rate hovers around 7%.  Since the average parent with children in school is expected to shell out a sizeable amount of money on school supplies in the upcoming weeks, the new policy will be felt by large number of North Carolina families.

Even without the tax holiday, there is some good news on the horizon for North Carolina residents in need of school supplies. That’s because retailers are reaching out to consumers directly, offering back-to-school sales under the banner of “Better Than Tax Free” to fill the void left by the tax holiday.

For example, the Concord Mills outlet will offer all consumers a 10% discount on their purchases during the weekend of July 25 –27, which is an ever greater incentive for consumers than the past sales tax holidays. So even though the tax holiday may have been repealed, residents can still take advantage of lower prices by choosing to shop in Concord, North Carolina, during this weekend promotion. Alternatively, consumers can benefit from sales tax holidays by shopping in the neighboring states of South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee during the weekend of August 1-3.

Eleven states hold Back To School sales tax holidays in August

Back to school sales tax holidayEleven states have already announced that they will be holding their annual Back To School sales tax holidays in August. Here is an up-to-date list of the dates for the various tax holidays as well as a summary of what’s exempted from the usual state taxes.

Alabama: August 1-3. The tax holiday includes clothing (<$100 per item); computers, computer software, and computer supplies (<$750 per item); school supplies, school art supplies, and school instructional material (<$50 per item).

Arkansas: August 1-3. Clothing (<$100 per item); clothing accessories or equipment (<$750 per item); school supplies, school art supplies, and school instructional materials (<$50 per item).

Connecticut: August 17-23. Clothing (<$300 per item); shoes (<$300 per item).

Florida: August 1-3. Clothing, shoes, and accessories (<$75 per item); school supplies (<$15 per item); computers and computer accessories (<$750 per item)

Georgia: August 1-2. School supplies and school instructional materials (<$20 per item); clothing and shoes (<$100 per item); computers and computers software (<$1,000 per item)

Louisiana: August 1-2. The Louisiana sales tax holiday is one of the most expansive and includes far more than school supplies, clothing, and computers:  “The exemption applies statewide to all consumer purchases of tangible personal property, other than vehicles subject to license and title and meals furnished for consumption on the premises where purchased, including to-go orders, provided that the property is not for use in a business, trade, or profession.”

Missouri: August 1-3. Clothing (<$100 per item); school supplies (<$50 per purchase), computer software (taxable value of <$350); personal computers (<$3,500); computer peripheral devices (<$3,500).

New Mexico: August 2-4. Clothing and shoes (<$100 per unit); desktop, laptop, tablets, or notebook computers (<$1,000 per item); computer hardware (<$500); school supplies for use in standard classrooms (<$30 per unit).

Tennessee: August 1-3. Clothing ($100 or less); school supplies ($100 or less); and computers ($1,500 or less).

Texas: August 8-10. Clothing; school supplies; shoes; and backpacks (<$100 per item)

Virginia: August 1-3. School supplies (<$20 per item); clothing and footwear (<$100 per item).

Florida welcomes hurricane season with sales tax holiday

Florida’s sales tax holiday on storm supplies starts Saturday, May 31 and continues through June 8 to encourage preparedness for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.Sales tax holiday

The tax holiday includes the following items:

  • Flashlights for $20 or less
  • Portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weather band radio for $50 or less
  • Tarpaulin or  flexible waterproof sheeting for $50 or less
  • First-aid kits for $30 or less
  • Ground anchor systems or tie-down kits for $50 or less
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks for $25 or less
  • Batteries include AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries for $30 or less
  • Nonelectric coolers for $30 or less
  • Portable generators for $750 or less
  • Reusable ice $10 or less

Find more information on the tax holiday from the Florida Division of Emergency Management at FloridaDisaster.org.

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