Tax Free Weekend: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Tax Free Weekend

This is tax-free weekend for many states. (Getty)

This is tax-free weekend in many states. This means that shoppers will be able to buy items without having to pay sales tax. The exact rules for tax free weekend vary from state to state, with some states being more lenient in terms of what items qualify for the tax-free specials. Most states offer a tax free holiday so 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. We’re including tips below to help you get the most out of tax free weekend.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Twelves 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 the tax free holiday this weekend, through Sunday, August 7, according to International Business Times. The participating states are:

  • Alabama: Aug. 5-7 (Note: Not all counties are participating. See if yours is on this list.)
  • Arkansas: Aug. 6-7
  • Florida: Aug. 5-7
  • Iowa: Aug. 5-6
  • Louisiana: Aug. 5-6
  • Massachusetts: Aug. 5-6
  • Missouri: Aug. 5-7 (Note: Not every city, county, and district is participating. See here for more information.)
  • New Mexico: Aug. 5-7
  • Ohio: Aug. 5-7
  • Oklahoma: Aug. 5-7
  • South Carolina: Aug. 5-7
  • Texas: Aug. 5-7
  • Virginia: Aug. 5-7

States that are having tax-free weekend later are Connecticut (Aug. 21-27) and Maryland (Aug. 14-20). Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee already had their tax-free weekend. Meanwhile, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, and Delaware never have state sales tax, so they have no need to participate in tax-free weekend.

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 this weekend. (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 what qualifies in this weekend’s states, according to Deal News. Click on each state’s name for more complete information. Note that each of these limits are per item, not total spent. So if a limit says “clothing up to $100,” that typically means up to $100 per clothing item.

  • Alabama: Clothing up to $100, computers up to $750, school supplies up to $50, and books up to $30.
  • Arkansas: Arkansas has no limit this year on school supplies. Clothing up to $100, clothing accessories and equipment up to $50.
  • Florida – School supplies up to $15 and clothing up to $60.
  • Iowa: Clothing and footwear up to $100 tax-free.
  • Massachusetts: Clothing and footwear up to $100 tax-free.
  • Missouri: Clothing up to $100; school supplies up to $50; computer software up to $350; computers up to $1,500; computer peripherals up to $1,500; graphing calculators up to $150.
  • Louisiana: Louisiana has a much broader tax-free weekend policy, covering all items that are tangible personal property up to $2,500 each. Business items don’t qualify.
  • New Mexico: School supplies up to $30; clothing up to $100; computers up to $1,000; computer equipment up to $500
  • Ohio: Clothing up to $75; school supplies up to $20; school instructional material up to $20.
  • Oklahoma: Clothing and shoes up to $100.
  • 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 up to $100.
  • Texas: Pretty much any clothing, backpacks or school supplies that cost up to $100 qualify.
  • Virginia: Clothing up to $100 per item and school supplies up to $20 per item qualify. Emergency preparedness items also qualify.

3. Some Stores Will Be Open Later During Tax-Free Weekend

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. But before you go shopping, make sure that you check the deals and the items that qualify closely. Don’t go on a shopping spree for items that you don’t need, only to find out later that not everything actually qualifies.

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 some items tax-free online. Many stores will let you put items on layaway and still get them tax free. (But note: not every state allows this. According to The Post and Courier, layaway items do not qualify as tax-free in South Carolina.)

You may also have an easier time if you make a list ahead of time that details everything you need to buy. I Heart the Mart provides a worksheet that lists prices from typical school supplies, along with how much the items would cost from Walmart. This was last updated in 2013, but can still give you an idea of what you should be looking for.

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

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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 overwhelmingly busy all weekend and will appreciate it if you provide a dose of compassion and patience.