• Numerous States Offer Sales Tax Holidays in the Coming Weeks
  • August 7, 2015 | Authors: David H. Godenswager; David M. Kall; Susan Millradt McGlone
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • Many states are holding sales tax holidays to give consumers a tax break on back-to-school clothing and other purchases.

    Some are limiting the list of tax-exempt items to clothing, footwear, and accessories, while others have expanded the offering to items other than back-to-school goods. For example, Virginia’s sales tax holiday also exempts hurricane and emergency preparedness items, Energy Star and WaterSense items. Mississippi offers a Second Amendment sales tax holiday on firearms during the weekend after its back-to-school tax holiday.

    The Plain Dealer reported that for the first time Ohio will join the list of states offering such a holiday. It is expected to be a boon for the 14 percent of families that have students going back to school this fall. Nationwide, consumers are expected to spend more than $68 billion for back-to-school items.

    Despite the savings, not everyone thinks sales tax holidays are the right way to give consumers a break. In The Truth About Sales Tax Holidays, the Tax Justice Blog contends that these holidays are costly gimmicks that distract “from the bigger picture problem with regressive state tax systems.” The blog argues this happens because the temporary suspension of sales taxes disproportionately benefits wealthy families that can time their purchases to coincide with the tax holiday, a luxury that those living paycheck to paycheck cannot afford.

    In addition, the blog points out that sales tax holidays will collectively cost states more than $300 million this year. The blog contends that it is better to spend resources to create “long term solutions with real benefits for working families.”

    Nevertheless, there are 18 states offering a sales tax holiday. Below is a list of certain states and details of the sales tax holiday.

    State 

    Dates of holiday 

    Items free from tax collections 

    Other details 

    Florida 

    Aug. 7-16, 2015 

    • Clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $100 or less per item
    • Certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item
    • Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories on the first $750 of the sales price, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use 

    The Florida Department of Revenue provides details, like lists of exempted items, and FAQs 

    Georgia 

    July 31-Aug. 1, 2015 

    • Clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item
    • Computers, computer components, and prewritten software purchased for noncommercial home or personal use with a sales price of $1000 or less per item
    • School supplies purchased for noncommercial use with a sales price of $20 or less per item 

    The Georgia Department of Revenue provides detailed lists of exempted and taxable items. 

    Maryland 

    Aug. 9-15, 2015 

    • Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less. This does not include accessory items, the first $100 of a more expensive single article or set (like a suit), or special clothing or footwear designed for protection, like football pads 

    The Comptroller of Maryland has posted other details pertaining to its Tax Free Week, including FAQs, lists of exempted items, and links to merchandising materials that retailers can print and display 

    Mississippi 

    July 31-Aug. 1, 2015 and Sept. 4-6, 2015 

    • Clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.  Accessories including jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches, backpacks, briefcases, and similar items do not qualify 

    Mississippi’s Official Guide to the Sales Tax Holiday explains how to apply to tax holiday to pairings of eligible and ineligible items, buy-one-get-one-free promotions, and the like. In addition, Mississippi offers a Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday from Sept. 4-6, 2015, during which the sale of firearms, ammunition, and certain hunting supplies are tax exempt 

    Missouri 

    Aug. 7-9, 2015 

    • 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 

    The Missouri Department of Revenue’s Back to School Sales Tax Holiday web page contains links to information for vendors and consumers, FAQs, lists of cities and counties that have chosen not to participate, tax rate tables, and rate cards

    Ohio 

    Aug. 7-9, 2015 

    • 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
    • Items used for trade or business are excluded from the tax holiday 

    The Ohio Department of Taxation provides consumers with a list of FAQs on its website 

    Oklahoma 

    Aug. 7-9, 2015 

    • Sales of any article of clothing or footwear designed to be worn on or about the human body, and the sales price of the article is less than $100 

    Like the other states, the Oklahoma Tax Commission has provided more particulars on its website

           

    South Carolina 

    Aug. 7-9, 2015 

    • Clothing and clothing accessories (hats, scarves, hosiery, and handbags)
    • Footwear
    • School supplies (pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, bookbags, lunchboxes, and calculators)
    • Computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software
    • Bath wash clothes, blankets, bedspreads, bed linens, sheet sets, comforter sets, bath towels, shower curtains, bath rugs and mats, pillows, and pillow cases 

    The South Carolina Department of Revenue has published Revenue Ruling 10-7 that provides a list of exempt and taxable items, and Revenue Ruling 10-8 that answers questions 

    Tennessee 

    Aug. 7-9, 2015 

    • Clothing, school, and art supplies that cost $100 or less per item
    • Computers that cost $1,500 or less 

    Tennessee’s Department of Revenue has posted links to lists of exempt and taxable items, FAQs, and additional information on its website

    Texas 

    Aug. 7-9, 2015 

    • Most clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks priced under $100 

    In the Fine Print, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts provides information for its sales tax holiday, including lists of items, prohibited advertising, and reporting requirements for sellers 

    Virginia 

    Aug. 7-9, 2015 

    School supplies, clothing, and footwear:
    • Qualified school supplies—$20 or less per item
    • Qualified clothing and footwear—$100 or less per item
    Hurricane and emergency preparedness items:
    • Portable generators—$1,000 or less per item
    • Gas-powered chainsaws—$350 or less per item
    • Chainsaw accessories—$60 or less per item
    • Other specified hurricane preparedness items with a sales price of $60 or less per item
    Energy Star and WaterSense items:
    • Qualifying Energy Star items include dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, light bulbs, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators
    • Qualifying WaterSense items include bathroom sink faucets, faucet accessories such as aerators and shower heads, toilets, urinals, and landscape irrigation controllers 

    The Virginia Department of Taxation’s Sales Tax Holiday page incorporates links to detailed lists of applicable items, product specific information, guidelines, and information for consumers and retailers