By the end of this month, most children across the country will be back in school, which can only mean one thing, school supplies! According to the National Retail Federation, families with school-aged children spent an average of $688 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics during the back-to-school shopping season. While experts predict a lower number of $635 this year, 17 states are preparing to offer shoppers tax breaks on various back-to-school items.
Economic uncertainty, unemployment, and a recent surge in gas prices are causing many families to spend less, so these sales tax breaks could be really beneficial. However, it’s not that simple. These temporary breaks are very specific according to the state you reside in, the time period in which you are shopping, and the type of items you are looking to purchase. Complicated taxation, big surprise!
While every single one of the 17 states offering tax breaks include exemptions on clothing, most of the states limit the exemption to items costing less than $100. Plus, the tax holiday lasts for only a few days and in some cases, up to just a full week. One drawback according to the Tax Foundation is that the price limit imposed on items during sales tax holidays encourages shoppers to buy cheaper goods, even when they weren’t planning on it. So, what’s the takeaway? Do your research. Know what items are less taxed and during what time frame. Make your school supply list and get shopping!
Here are just a few of the states’ policies for this upcoming back-to-school season:
State Timeframe Details
Alabama August 2 – 4 – Clothing ≤ $100
- Computers & software ≤ $750
- School supplies ≤ $50
- Books ≤ $30
Arkansas August 3 – 4 – Clothing ≤ $100
- All school supplies
Florida August 2 – 4 – Clothing ≤ $75
- Computers & accessories ≤ $750
- School supplies ≤ $15 per item
- Does not apply to sales made within theme parks, entertainment complexes or airports
Georgia August 9 – 10 – Clothing ≤ $100
- Personal computers ≤ $1,000
- School supplies ≤ $20
Louisiana August 2 – 3 – All items ≤ $2,500 are tax free, with the exception of vehicles & meals
Mississippi July 26 – 27 – Clothing & footwear ≤ $100
South Carolina August 2 – 4 – Applies to all clothing, accessories, footwear, school supplies, computers, printers, software, linens, towels and rugs
Jeff Fouts is a Georgia-based tax attorney with over twenty years of experience. He specializes in helping people with their IRS debt and tax problems, serving some 3,000 tax clients in all 50 states. Learn more here and schedule a free consultation today.