I just update this post on sales tax free weekends for 2020 again because three states announced their plans very last minutes. Anyway, the goal of this article is to tell you when the tax-free days are that are coming up in July and August.
You may think of these as back to school tax free weekends for shopping. You’ll qualify to shop tax free, even if you’re doing all of your shopping from home.
When it comes to back-to-school spending, smart shoppers know to take advantage of their state’s sales tax free weekend. Each summer a dozen or more states have these tax free weekends. They are a great way to save money on your back-to-school shopping. This includes back to college shopping.
What is a tax free weekend
Why do they call a state sales tax holiday a tax free weekend? Because most of these holidays span a weekend. They can run Friday to Saturday, or Saturday to Sunday.
In some instances a tax free weekend ends up being a three day weekend for you to save on sales tax. That is you can shop tax free on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Some of these tax free days run an entire week.
Does a tax free weekend apply to online shopping
This is great news for a sophisticated consumer who like to shop online. Yes, a tax free weekend does apply to online purchases and online shopping.
Most of the sources for legit sales tax holiday information confirm that it is up to the online site to honor a tax free weekend. That is, if a site like Amazon.com collects sales tax on your state’s behalf–and your state is running one of these August tax free shopping weekends–then Amazon should honor the tax free shopping. In fact, I’ve just added the next few paragraphs to explain this better.
Tax Free Weekend on Amazon
If your state offers a sales tax holiday, you may be wondering if there is also a tax free weekend on Amazon. Or at any online store, for that matter.
Perhaps your question actually is does tax free weekend apply to online purchases? Well, I went straight to the source–Amazon–and found out how it handles a tax free weekend on Amazon.
Here is what the Amazon page on Sales Tax Holidays says:
“Many taxing jurisdictions require select taxable products to be temporarily exempt from tax on specific dates. For example, a sales tax holiday may be enacted on “back to school” products before the new school year.
You can find more information about sales tax holidays, including qualifying items, by visiting your state or US territory’s department of revenue (or equivalent) website.
Sales tax holidays may be applied to sales sold by Amazon.com and its affiliates, including marketplace sellers. However, tax may still be calculated on items if they do not qualify.”
Does Amazon participate in tax free weekend?
So, the answer to the question if there is a tax free weekend on Amazon, yes. And the answer to the question “Does Amazon participate in tax free weekend?” Also, yes. However, be sure to read the fine print, if you will.
Amazon says it will waive the sales tax on qualifying items. Each state has a rule about what items qualify to be exempt from sales tax. In addition, each state has a price limit for this exemption.
How to save on sales tax on Amazon
So what does this mean for you and shopping on Amazon during a tax free weekend or a sales tax holiday? I would recommend making multiple purchases rather than piling everything into your cart. If you can control what you buy and how much, you’ll have a clearer sense if your items fall within your state’s sales tax guidelines.
For example, the Massachusetts tax holiday for 2020 happens Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30th. One of the spending limits is on clothing. You have to buy clothing priced at $175 or less to avoid paying sales tax.
So, let’s say you want to spent your Massachusetts sales tax weekend shopping on Amazon. If it were me, I would make sure to buy each piece of clothing separately and ensure that nothing is priced higher than $175.
Now, if you have Amazon Prime, you won’t pay for shipping anyway. So, purchasing in multiple orders won’t cost you anything extra. But, like I said, it will allow you to keep track of your shopping to ensure that your online purchases meet the spending threshold for your state’s tax holiday.
Which stores participate in a sales tax weekend
I believe by law every store in a state much participate in a sales tax weekend. However, if you’re not ready to shop in the stores, here’s a shopping hack to consider for sales tax weekends 2020: Buy online but pick up in store.
This way you avoid the rush of shoppers but still benefit from not paying sales tax. Also you don’t have to worry about paying for shipping.
Stores with buy online, pick up in store
Here are some of the stores that I know offer this buy online, pick up in store option:
Here is my article from the holiday season on buy online, pick up in store options. These are really good to know about for shopping in 2020!
What is included in the tax free weekend
The idea behind most of these sales tax holidays is to give families a break on school supplies. That’s why participating states have rules on which categories qualify for tax free shopping.
Usually, you’re looking at basic school supplies, such as notebooks, pens, pencils and backpacks. Some states include computer purchases in their sales tax free weekend holidays. Other states include “off beat” items that qualify as being tax free. This includes scrubs and safety gear.
Is there a limit on the tax free weekend
While you, the consumer, are not limited to how many stores you shop tax free, there are spending limits on what you buy. In other words the sales tax holidays have a cap on what qualifies as tax free.
For example, you may be looking for tax free shoes online. Since many states include back to school clothing and footwear in their sales tax holidays, you’ll be in luck. Just keep in mind that you must buy shoes online costing less than $100 in order for it to qualify as tax free shoes online.
Other tax free shopping categories
Clothing and footwear are the most common items included during a state sales tax holiday. However, many of the states with a tax free weekend include the following categories as well:
- school supplies like notebooks and the like
- computers and computer software
- book bags and backpacks
Which states have sales tax holidays
When are the tax free weekends? Well, they happen all year long. But most of them occur in the summer months of July and August.
In 2020 things might be a bit different. However, from what I can tell, at least a dozen states will, in fact, offer a sales tax free weekend for shopping.
Some states are very generous with their tax free weekend by making them nearly a week long. Therefore, they are tax free shopping weeks, not just weekends.
Here is something to important to remember about a tax free weekend. Even though a state sales tax holiday is timed for back to school, you do not have to be a parent with children to benefit. Anyone shopping on a tax free weekend can reap the rewards of a sales tax holiday. Just keep your spending within the rules and the approved categories!
Here is an alphabetical listing of the more than dozen states with tax free weekend shopping this summer. I’ve included the dates of the individual sales tax holidays, the categories the state has included for tax free shopping and links to online retailers in those categories. This allows you to shop from the comfort of home and save on sales tax for your back to school shopping.
Note: some of these state sales tax holidays also include hurricane preparedness and disaster products. If you live in a state that’s susceptible to storms, it would be smart to take advantage of tax free shopping for these products, too.
Alabama Sales Tax Holiday
The Alabama back to school sales tax holiday is July 17-19, 2020. That’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So a three-day sales tax free weekend.
Arkansas Tax Free Weekend
The Arkansas tax free weekend 2020 is just two days. It is Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2, 2020. Here are the three categories that qualify for the tax free weekend in Arkansas, plus spending limits:
- Clothing and footwear (each item must cost less than $100)
- Clothing accessories and equipment (priced under $50 per item)
- School supplies, school art supplies, and school instructional materials (no price limit mentioned)
According to the statute, all retailers in Arkansas must participate in this sales tax holiday.
What’s included in the Arkansas tax free weekend
Believe it or not, Arkansas includes wedding apparel in its list of tax exempt clothing during the tax free weekend. So are diapers and underwear.
Did you know you could get a diaper subscription on Amazon.com so you’ll never run out? Try Amazon Family free for 30 days. One of the benefits is you can save 20% on diapers.
Another diaper subscription to consider is from The Honest Company. Use this link and plug in code DIAPER20 to save 20% on diapers.
Connecticut Tax Free Week
Connecticut has not announced if it will be holding its sales tax holiday in 2020. In 2019 the sales tax holiday amounted to a tax-free week of back-to-school shopping at the end of August. However, Dick’s Sporting Goods has a page devoted to tax-free shopping for back to school and lists Connecticut’s Tax Free Week as being August 16-22, 2020.
I would recommend checking back often for any updates. Or, better yet, sign up for my mailing list using this link so I can update you once I find out.
If Connecticut does not have a sales tax holiday in 2020, it might make sense for them to shop in a neighboring state. For example, the Massachuetts sales tax holiday, which is Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30, 2020.
Florida Tax Free Weekend
Florida just announced its 2020 tax-free shopping holiday. It will be held Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9, 2020. Here’s the official word from the State of Florida Department of Tax Revenue:
“During the 2020 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 7-9, qualifying items will be exempt from tax, including certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item; and the first $1,000 of the sales price of personal computers and certain computer-related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use. For more information and a list of qualifying items, visit https://floridarevenue.com/backtoschool.”
Iowa Tax Free Weekend
The Iowa annual sales tax holiday always happens each year on the first Friday and Saturday of August. For 2020 that would be August 7 & 8.
That’s Friday and Saturday only, by the way, so the tax free weekend Iowa is not a full weekend for sales tax free shopping. That’s important to keep in mind.
As far as tax free weekend online shopping goes, here is more from the Iowa Department of Revenue about Iowa sales tax holiday:
Eligible items purchased by mail order, catalog, or Internet are exempt if they are [d]elivered during the exemption period, or [o]rdered and paid for during the exemption period, even if delivery is made after the Sales Tax Holiday.
Maryland Sales Tax Holiday 2020
Maryland is another state just updated its tax-free holiday for 2020. Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week will be August 9-15, 2020.
Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday
Massachusetts just announced its sales tax holiday for 2020. The Massachuetts sales tax holiday this year is August 29 and August 30. That’s a Saturday and Sunday.
Turns out the Massachusetts sales tax holiday is actually a law since 2018. So you can expect this to happen each year in August.
The Massachusetts sales tax holiday is different than any other state. How? Pretty much everything you buy during the tax free weekend is exempt from sales tax. This includes meals out at restaurants, items costing under $2,500 (with a few exceptions) along with all of the back to school items you would expect to save money on during a sales tax holiday.
There is a limit on clothing, though. Items of clothing must be priced under $175 to be exempt from sales tax. Either way the Massachusetts sales tax holiday in 2020 will be a great opportunity to support local businesses in the retails and restaurant sectors.
Online sales and the Massachusetts sales tax holiday
As far as online sales and the Massachusetts tax free weekend, here is what the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has to say:
If you order and pay for an eligible item over the internet on the sales tax holiday, Eastern Daylight Time, that item will qualify for the sales tax holiday exemption. No sales tax is due on that purchase, even if delivery of the item occurs after the sales tax holiday weekend.
Mississippi Sales Tax Holiday 2020
The Mississippi sales tax holiday is pretty straightforward. Here it is.
You do not have to pay sales tax on any article of clothing, footwear or school supplies that costs less than $100. That’s a single item priced under $100–not your total purchase.
The 2020 Mississippi Sales Tax Holiday is two days and straddles July and August. That’s because it is happening Friday, July 31, 2020, and Saturday, August 1, 2020.
Here is what the Mississippi tax site says about online purchases during the 2020 sales tax holiday:
“Sales of eligible items that were placed or ordered by mail, telephone, or the internet are not subject to Sales Tax if the purchaser orders and pays for the items during the Sales Tax Holiday and the items are less than the $100.00 threshold.”
Missouri Sales Tax Holiday
According to Missouri state law, the the Missouri sales tax holiday begins on the first Friday in August and continues through the following Sunday. So, in 2020 the Missouri sales tax holiday is Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9.
The Missouri Department of Revenue has included the following in the Missouri sales tax holiday:
- 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 – not to exceed $3,500
- Computer peripheral devices – not to exceed $3,500
New Mexico Tax Free Weekend
New Mexico calls its back to school, tax free holiday the New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax Holiday. When it this tax free weekend in 2019? In 2020 it is August 7-9. That’s Friday through Sunday.
During the New Mexico sales tax free weekend, you won’t pay sales tax on the following:
- Clothing or shoes must be priced at less than $100 per unit
- The price limit for desktop, laptop, tablets or notebook computers is $1,000
- The price limit for related computer hardware is $500
- School supplies for use in standard, general-education classrooms must be priced under $30 per unit
Ohio Sales Tax Holiday
Ohio residents will no longer have to ask, “When is the tax free weekend in Ohio?” That’s because, beginning last year, this tax free weekend became a permanent sales tax holiday. The Ohio sales tax holiday now happens each year on the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of August.
Think of it as Ohio back to school tax free or the Ohio tax free holiday. In 2020 it happens Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9.
What qualifies during the Ohio sales tax free weekend
The Ohio Department of Taxation says that during this Ohio sales tax holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax:
- Clothing priced at $75 per item or less;
- School supplies priced at $20 per item or less
- School instructional material priced at $20 per item or less
Oklahoma Tax Free Weekend
Oklahoma just announced plans for its 2020 sales tax holiday. Here was the announcement:
“It is summertime and that means it is almost time for Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday. This year, it runs from 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 7, 2020, through midnight on Sunday, August 9, 2020. During this time period, sales of eligible clothing and shoes are exempt from sales tax. All qualified items are exempt from state, city, county and local municipality sales tax.
Retailers are required to participate in the three-day sales tax holiday and may not collect sales and use tax on sales on qualified footwear and clothing items priced less than $100 dollars.”
South Carolina Sales Tax Holiday 2020
South Carolina just announced its 2020 sales tax holiday. This year the SC sales tax holiday will run Friday, August 7, through Sunday, August 9, 2020.
Some of the items you’ll be able to purchase tax free include computers, clothes, and school supplies. From a press release about South Carolina’s annual 72-hour Sales Tax Holiday:
“The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) reminds shoppers that eligible items can be purchased online and in-store without paying the state’s 6% Sales Tax and any applicable local taxes during South Carolina’s Sales Tax Holiday.”
Shoppers will also find tax-free items for their home or dorm room.”
Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday
In 2020 residents of Tennessee can enjoy two sales tax holidays. The first Tennessee sales tax holiday is your typical tax free shopping for school supplies. But the second Tennessee sales tax holiday is designed to help the restaurant industry. Here are the details of both.
Tennessee sales tax holiday school shopping 2020
The Tennessee back to school shopping weekend occurs July 31-August 2, 2020. That’s over a three-day weekend of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s the sales tax holiday that focuses on clothing, school supplies and computers.
In 2020 Tennessee has boosted the price of items that will qualify for tax-free shopping. Previously, clothing had to be $100 or less. This year the Tennessee sales tax holiday includes clothing priced at $200 of less. That’s a huge change.
Also changing the cost of school supplies and more that qualify for tax free shopping. It used to be a $100 limit; in 2020 it’s $200.
Finally, computers and electronic devices are a part of the Tennessee sales tax holiday. There the price of qualifying items hasn’t changed. It is still $3,000 or less to avoid paying tax on your purchase.
FYI, these price increases are for the Tennessee sales tax holiday 2020 only. From what I’ve read the prices will go back down to previous levels in 2021. But they’ve been increased to spur spending and help the local economy.
Tennessee sales tax holiday restaurants 2020
The restaurant Tennessee sales tax holiday is the weekend following the back to school shopping tax free weekend. That would be Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August, 9, 2020.
According to the Tennessee Department of Revenue website, here is how the restaurant-focused Tennessee sales tax holiday will take shape.
During this time, the retail sale of food and drink by restaurants and limited service restaurants is exempt from sales tax.
Texas Tax Free Weekend
To enjoy tax free shopping in Texas, you should wait until the annual Texas tax free weekend. That’s when you can buy most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks (sold for less than $100) tax free from a Texas store or from an online or catalog seller doing business in Texas.
For 2020 the tax free weekend in Texas falls on the first full weekend of August. That would be Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9.
Virginia Sales Tax Holiday
The Virginia sales tax holiday in 2020 is happened August 7-9. It is a three-day holiday over a long weekend–Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Virginia sales tax holiday covers three important shopping categories:
- back to school supplies
- hurricane and emergency preparedness items
- Energy Star and WaterSense products
Back to school tax free shopping
With regards to school supplies, this includes clothing and footwear. However, there are spending limits.
School supplies must be priced $20 or less, and clothing and footwear $100 or less to qualify for tax free shopping. So if you were hoping to get a laptop without paying sales tax on this Virginia tax free weekend, you’re out of luck. Sorry!
Hurricane and emergency preparedness tax free shopping
As far as Hurricane and emergency preparedness products, you can avoid paying sales tax on the following:
- Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item
- Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item; you can buy chainsaws on Amazon.
- Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item
- Other specified hurricane preparedness items – $60 or less per item