The Staying Power of Sales Tax Holidays

What you should know about the upcoming sales tax holidays

Despite many school districts shifting to remote learning this fall, back-to-school spending is expected to be sky high. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, American families with school-aged kids are expecting to spend a record-high average of $790 on back-to-school items this year. Thankfully for parents, states are sticking with sales-tax free holidays even as the pandemic surges through the nation. Here’s what you need to know about those upcoming savings-packed weekends.

What and Where

This year, 16 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — are holding sales-tax free weekends. Items that are included in the tax-free category range from school supplies to emergency preparedness products like generators.

The Savings

If you shop during one of these tax-free weekends (the events sometimes last an entire week) you can expect to save anywhere from four to nine percent, depending on where you live. Some states remove all taxes; some leave local taxes in place.

A Smart Plan

Make a spending plan before your state’s weekend so that you maximize savings and minimize excess spending. Check your kid’s supply list and then scour the house to see what you already have. Create a list of items that you want to target during that weekend and then only purchase items on your list. A sales-tax free weekend is a great way to save some cash, but you’ll only reap the benefits if you’re smart about it and keep spending to a minimum. Especially during a pandemic, it’s a good idea to reduce unnecessary spending, even if it seems like a good deal.

Chris O'Shea