Growing up in North Carolina, when my family needed to buy a
computer, we always did it over the tax-free weekend of August 2-4.
That's a tradition a number of families will be looking to repeat
in a few days. Along with North Carolina, the states of Alabama,
Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina,
Tennessee, and Louisiana include computers in their tax-free
weekend. For example, if you're in North Carolina and looking to
upgrade your desktop to a 27-inch
) iMac, you'll pay $1,799.00 as it is listed, not $1,939.42. The
savings of $139.42 is not huge, but noteworthy.
Reminiscing about back-to-school shopping weekends with my
co-workers, I related a story of buying a laptop during the first
weekend of August, but most of them had no idea that tax-free
weekends existed. The tax-free holiday is a little different from
state to state, and some states, like New York, where I work, do
not do tax-free at all.
And so, with August and back-to-school shopping fast approaching,
this is Minyanville's guide to tax-free weekends.
Twelve states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana,
Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina,
Tennessee, and Virginia -- customarily set aside the first weekend
of August for tax-free sales of clothing, school supplies, and
computers, though not all of those items are tax-free in all 12 of
the states. For example, Oklahoma only sells clothing tax-free for
Georgia, Massachusetts, and Texas will wait for the second weekend
of August, with the latter being notable as the only state to sell
health and beauty-aid products tax-free for the weekend. Maryland
has August 11-17 set as its tax-free holiday this year, selling
clothing and footwear without sales tax. Connecticut joins the
party for the third full week of August, this year on Sunday,
August 18 through Saturday, August 24. Like Oklahoma and Maryland,
that tax holiday will apply only to clothing, and to items less
Louisiana already had one tax-free weekend, May 25 and 26, when
consumers could buy hurricane-preparedness supplies such as
flashlights, candles, and batteries without paying a tax. Alabama
also held a tax-free weekend for hurricane supplies from February
22 to 24.
The first weekend of August marks Louisiana's second tax-free
weekend, and consumers in the state will pay no taxes on
non-business purchases of any items under $2,500, excluding
automobiles. Louisiana allows the broadest amount of tax-free
That said, there are five states (Alabama, Delaware, Montana, New
Hampshire, and Oregon) that do not impose general sales tax at all,
though they have specific excise taxes for goods such as gasoline,
tobacco products, and alcohol.
DC will not be having any tax-free weekends, and it hasn't since
2010 when the Sales Tax Holidays were repealed to avoid the loss of
an estimated $640,000 in revenue. Before 2010, DC scheduled nine
days in either August or November as tax holidays.
In July 2010, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago published a
report called, "
The Effect of Sales Tax Holidays on Household
," which found that households buy 49% more clothing on tax
holidays than on average. Moreover, the majority of that spending
goes to clothing for children: In households with married parents
and young children, the amount spent on clothing increases by 117%,
and for shoes, the increase is a huge 295%.
, this one from the National Retail Federation, the average family
will spend an average of $634.78 on clothing, shoes, school
supplies, and electronics in the back-to-school shopping period in
2013, which is actually down from last year's $688.62. Based on
this estimate, average savings in North Carolina -- where the sales
tax rate can reach 7.75% (state + local tax) -- will be $49.20. Of
course, that's not a huge amount of money, but if you need to do
shopping before school begins, or even just need to update your
wardrobe, why not save a bit?
For a detailed list of the states offering tax-free holidays in
Follow me on Twitter: