I’ve just updated this post on sales tax free weekends for the current year. Why?
Because summer is the most popular time for states to offer sales tax holidays, no tax days and tax free weekends. 2023 is no different.
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However, summer isn’t the only time that states give their residents a holiday from paying sales tax on their purchases.
Some states have sales tax holidays in February. Others have sales tax free weekends in April and May.
Previously, this post focused on tax-free days in July and August. They tied into back-to-school shopping, which is why these tax free weekends were so popular.
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 or sales tax holidays.
These sales tax holidays and tax-free weekends 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.
When does a tax free weekend end? Well, it depends on the state.
As I mentioned, some states have a tax free weekend that’s just Friday and Saturday whereas other states have it on Saturday and Sunday.
Therefore, it’s critical that you educate yourself on when the tax free weekend starts and when it ends so you don’t miss out.
Does a tax free weekend apply to online shopping?
This is great news for a sophisticated consumer who likes 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. So this includes Amazon, too.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Here’s the latest on shopping during Amazon Prime Day holidays.
Shopping online during a sales tax weekend
I believe, by law, every store in a state must participate in a sales tax weekend. However, here’s an option you may not have considered: buy online and 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.
Shopping at Costco during a sales tax holiday
You may be wondering what happens if you shop at Costco during a sales tax holiday. Well, of course, if you’re shopping in person, then your purchase — if it qualifies for the state sales tax holiday — should be tax free.
However, what if you’re shopping online at Costco or using the Costco app during that same state sales tax holiday? Well, here’s what you need to know.
One, you have to be a Costco member to receive a tax-exempt purchase online.
Two, you won’t get that tax-free discount when you make the purchase online. However, you can ask for it after the fact.
Here’s how Costco describes the process:
“If your order is being shipped to a state with a tax holiday, please email your request to [email protected] with the following subject line: “Sales Tax Holiday Request.”
In the body of the email, we ask that you please include:
- Your membership number
- Your first and last name
- The Costco.com order number
- The item submitted for consideration (please include the item number and product description)
- The state in which the tax holiday occurred
- Whether this purchase was for personal or business use
Once we get your email, we’ll be happy to issue a credit for tax on any qualifying purchases after the order has shipped. Note: only orders placed during the tax holiday qualify for a tax refund.”
Note that last question: with most state sales tax holidays, items purchased for personal use are the ones that qualify. Business purchases do not.
So, you know what to do.
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 “offbeat” items that qualify as being tax free. This includes scrubs and safety gear.
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Is there a limit on the tax free weekend?
While you, the consumer, are not limited to how many stores you can shop tax free, there are spending limits on what you can buy.
In other words the sales tax holidays have a cap on what qualifies as tax free. For example, some states may say that clothing items price $100 or less qualify as tax free only.
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
Read why my family only buys backpacks with a lifetime guarantee.
When are the tax free weekends
Tax-free weekends happen all year long. But most of them occur in the summer months of July and August.
In most states that had previously held sales tax holidays, you can expect back-to-school tax free weekend shopping in 2023.
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 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!
Have you wondered if your state has an official dog?
Month by Month sales tax holidays
Here is a month-by-month breakdown of when sales tax holidays are scheduled in 2023.
January sales tax holidays
February sales tax holidays
March sales tax holidays
April sales tax holidays
May sales tax holidays
June sales tax holidays
July sales tax holidays
August sales tax holidays
- Arkansas (AR)
- Connecticut (CT)
- Florida (FL)
- Iowa (IA)
- Maryland (MD)
- Massachusetts (MA)
- Mississippi (MS)
- Missouri (MO)
- New Mexico (NM)
- Ohio (OH)
- Oklahoma (OK)
- South Carolina (SC)
- Tennessee (TN)
- Texas (TX)
- West Virginia (WV)
September sales tax holidays
October sales tax holidays
November sales tax holidays
December tax holidays
Alphabetical list of state sales tax holidays
Here is an alphabetical listing of the more than dozen states with tax free weekends. I’ve included the dates of the individual sales tax holidays.
Also, I have 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.
Here are tips on how to prepare your home for hurricane season.
Below is the list of states with a sales tax holiday this year. Because this article has gotten very long, whenever possible I’ve written a new, state-specific post about their respective sales tax holidays. Then, I’ve included a link below.
So, for more information, please click on the state name below to get updated information about their respective state tax holidays.
- Alabama (AL): This article outlines Alabama’s two tax-free weekends.
- Arkansas (AR): Learn more about the six categories for the Arkansas tax free weekend.
- Connecticut (CT): This article on Connecticut tax free week explains how layaway purchases are included in the sales tax holiday.
- Florida (FL): Please see this article on Florida tax holidays for more details.
- Iowa (IA): Find out about the Iowa sales tax holiday.
- Maryland (MD): Read all about Maryland Tax Free Week in this article.
- Massachusetts (MA): This article is specifically about the Massachusetts tax free weekend.
- Mississippi (MS): Mississippi has two sales tax holidays each year.
- Missouri (MO): This article outlines the two Missouri state tax holidays.
- New Mexico (NM): The tax-free weekend in New Mexico is called the Gross Receipts Tax Holiday.
- Ohio (OH): More about the Ohio sales tax holiday.
- Oklahoma (OK): The Oklahoma tax-free weekend is three days long.
- South Carolina (SC): South Carolina calls its tax-free weekend the 72-hour sales tax holiday.
- Tennessee (TN): This article explains how the Tennessee sales tax holiday changed in 2023.
- Texas (TX): Please see this article on Texas Tax Free Weekends.
- West Virginia (WV): There are five categories of items that are tax-free during the West Virginia sales tax holiday.
You’ll find specifics of what you can expect from each state’s tax holiday — if they have them this year — via those links above.
Shoppers will also find tax-free items for their home or dorm room.
Here are additional money saving tips for surviving kids sports.
States that don’t tax clothing purchases
A big part of these tax free shopping weekends, at least during back to school, is saving on clothing purchases.
However, in some states, there is no need to have tax shopping holidays. Why? Because they don’t charge tax on clothing purchases at all.
Below is a list of states that always have tax free shopping on clothing. That’s because sales tax never applies.
So, which states don’t have sales tax on clothing? Here you go:
- Minnesota (MN)
- New Hampshire (NH)
- New Jersey (NJ)
- Pennsylvania (PA)
- Rhode Island (RI)
- Vermont (VT)
Therefore, if you want to know what the sales tax on clothing is in New Jersey or Pennsylvania or another one of these states, the answer is zero 0% zilch.
Tax Free States in USA
There are currently just a handful of states without any sales tax at all. This is good to know if you’re looking to shop and save money by shopping tax free in these American states.
Here are the sales tax-free states in America:
- Alaska (AK)
- Delaware (DE)
- Hawaii (HI)
- Montana (MT)
- New Hampshire (NH)
- Oregon (OR)
States that no longer have tax free weekends
Unfortunately, many states have stopped offering tax free weekends. That’s too bad, especially with prices and inflation on the rise.
Below is a list of states that used to offer tax free shopping holidays over a week or a weekend, at one time or another. Unfortunately, they no longer do.
That means that they continue to charge sales tax on everyday items. Here is a list of those states:
- District of Columbia (DC)
- Georgia (GA)
- Idaho (ID)
- Indiana (IN)
- Kansas (KS)
- Kentucky (KY)
- Louisiana (LA)
- Maine (ME)
- Michigan (MI)
- Montana (MT)
- New York (NY)
- North Carolina (NC)
- North Dakota (ND)
- South Dakota (SD)
- Utah (UT)
- Virginia (VA). The Virginia Sales Tax holiday expired on July 31, 2023, and the current legislature has not replaced it. Sorry, Virginia residents!
Might you have missing money in one of the states mentioned here?
Final thoughts on state sales tax holidays and tax free weekends
I’m lucky enough to have lived most of my adult life in states that don’t have sales tax on certain things. For example, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you don’t pay sales tax on clothing. But you do on everything else.
However, if I lived in a state or commonwealth that did tax those items, I surely would want to take advantage of state sales tax holidays or tax-free shopping weekends whenever they came around.
I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful in your quest to shop tax free. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.
Find out which stores are closed on national holidays.