Tax Free Weekend: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Tax Free Weekend

Gaby Lopez shops in New York in April 2015. This is tax-free weekend for many states. (Getty)

This is tax-free weekend in many states. This means that many shoppers will be able to buy items without having to pay sales tax. Most states offer this tax free holiday so that parents can buy back-to-school items at prices a little cheaper than normal — but the sales definitely aren’t limited to back-to-school items only. Here are the tips you need to know for tax free weekend.

1. Twelve States Are Participating This Weekend

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Clothing is offered on sale at a department store in Manhattan on March 12, 2015 in New York City. For a third straight month in February U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell according to a report by the Commerce Department released on Thursday. The report said that retail sales dropped 0.6 percent, with receipts falling in almost all categories.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A sale at a department store in Manhattan. Some stores are offering special sales for tax-free weekend. (Getty)

Only 12 states are participating in tax free weekend through Sunday, August 9, according to USA Today. The participating states are Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

2. Only Certain Items Will Qualify

Mannequins are seen inside the last operating department store at White Flint Mall on February 3, 2015 in Kensington, Maryland.  The "shopping mall," traditional symbol of the consumer in the 1960s, with trendy name brand stores all under one roof, are becoming the thing of the past in the US.   AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Mannequins are seen inside a department store in Maryland. Twelve states are participating in tax-free weekend August 7-9. (Getty)

Each state has its own rules about what items qualify for tax free purchases. It’s definitely not a free-for-all. Here’s a quick look at some of the rules, according to USA Today. Click on each state’s name for more complete information:

  • Alabama – Alabama allows certain school supplies, computers, and clothing to be tax-free.
  • Florida – Florida lets you get any item of clothing that costs up to $100 each tax-free, including diaper bags and purses but excluding suitcases and briefcases.
  • Iowa – Iowa only offers clothing and footwear up to $100 tax-free.
  • Missouri – Missouri covers the most expensive computers, up to $3,500 apiece. It also covers software up to $300, clothing up to $100, and school supplies up to $50 per purchase.
  • Louisiana – Louisiana has a much broader tax-free weekend policy, covering all items that are tangible personal property. Business items don’t qualify.
  • New Mexico – You can buy more things in New Mexico than some states, including computers up to $1,000 and hardware up to $500. Clothing can be $100 or less and school supplies are $20 or less.
  • Ohio – Ohio’s a little stricter than some states, only allowing clothing that costs $75 at the most and school supplies that are $20 or less.
  • Oklahoma – Clothing and footwear less than $100 qualifies, but not if the items are for athletics.
  • South Carolina – South Carolina covers more items for tax free weekend than many states, including clothing, bedding items, computers, printers, and bathroom decor.
  • Tennessee – Computers that cost up to $1,500 are included in Tennessee, along with clothing and school supplies less than $100.
  • Texas – Pretty much any clothing, backpacks or school supplies that cost less than $100 qualify.
  • Virginia – Clothing up to $100 per item and school supplies up to $20 per item qualify.

3. Some Stores Will Be Open Later

Check online to see what hours your favorite stores will be open on tax-free weekend. Many stores will be open earlier or later than their normal hours in order to take advantage of the extra shoppers.

4. You Can Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend Online or Through Layaway

You don’t have to shop in-store to take advantage of tax-free weekend. You can also purchase items tax-free online, according to ABC 13. Many stores will also let you put items on layaway and still get them tax free. You may also have an easier time if you make a list ahead of time that details everything you need to buy. ABC 13 provided a list from I Heart the Mart that lists prices from typical school supplies, along with how much the items would cost from Walmart.

5. Shoppers Should Be Extra Nice to People Working Retail This Weekend

Tax-free weekend can be incredibly busy and very “taxing” for people who work in retail. So if you’re planning on shopping this weekend, take time to be extra nice to the people who are working at the stores where you’re shopping. They will probably be extra busy all weekend and will appreciate it if you’re extra nice.