Purchase back-to-school supplies during your state's sales tax holiday.

If you’re already thinking of back-to-school shopping, you may get a price break in the next few weeks.

Though 45 states and the District of Columbia typically collect sales tax, 16 states have decided to either cut the amount of sales tax they charge or to not charge sales tax at all during various weekends this summer. 

While shopping, keep in mind that most states have limits on how much you can purchase without paying taxes. Tennessee, for example, forgives its full 7 percent sales tax on computers that cost up to $1,500. South Carolina, on the other hand, does not place a dollar limit (PDF) on eligible purchases—and even exempts add-ons such as clothing alterations and delivery charges.

You may not have to pay state tax, but you still could owe county and city sales tax. In Missouri, for instance, dozens of municipalities have opted to collect their local sales tax during the state sales tax holiday. 

The average family is likely to spend an average of $685 on back-to-school shopping this year, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade organization. Depending on where you shop, the savings could really add up. 


Visit CR's back-to-school guide for information on shopping, money matters, health issues, and more.
 

Tax Breaks State by State

Here’s when to do your back-to-school shopping in 16 states:

Alabama: July 20 to 22
Alabama’s 2018 sales tax break (PDF) applies to qualifying clothing that costs up to $100 per item. You also get the savings on computers and computer supplies that cost up to $750, school supplies up to $50, and books up to $30 each.

Arkansas: Aug. 4 to 5
Clothing that costs less than $100 per item as well as some accessories, electronic equipment, textbooks, and school supplies (PDF) costing less than $50 per item will qualify. 

Connecticut: Aug. 19 to 25
Connecticut’s 2018 sales tax break includes certain clothing and footwear that sell for less than $100 per item. 

Florida: Aug. 3 to 5
The back-to-school tax break in Florida applies to clothing that costs up to $60 per item and certain school supplies that sell for up to $15. You can get more details from Florida’s Department of Revenue (PDF).

Iowa: Aug. 3 to 4
Iowa’s sales tax holiday includes select clothing and footwear costing less than $100 per item. This list (PDF) shows taxable items first, then exempt items. 

Maryland: Aug. 12 to 18
If you need to buy a backpack or book bag, there is no tax on the first $40 of the cost. There are also other items covered (PDF), including qualifying clothing and footwear costing up to $100 per item. 

Mississippi: July 27 to 28
Mississippi’s 2018 sales tax holiday (PDF) includes qualifying clothing and footwear that sell for less than $100 per item. 

Missouri: Aug. 3 to 5
Missouri’s 2018 sales tax holiday applies to clothing that costs up to $100 per item, school supplies up to $50, computer software up to $350, and computers and computer accessories up to $1,500. 

New Mexico: Aug. 3 to 5
New Mexico’s 2018 sales tax holiday includes qualifying clothing costing less than $100, computers less than $1,000, computer-related items such as printers and monitors less than $500, and school supplies less than $30.

More Shopping Tips from Consumer Reports

Ohio: Aug. 3 to 5
Instructional materials your kids may need at school are tax-free as long as they cost $20 per item or less. So are school supplies. Ohio’s 2018 sales tax holiday also includes qualifying clothing that costs up to $75 per item.

Oklahoma: Aug. 3 to 5
Oklahoma’s 2018 sales tax holiday includes qualifying clothing and footwear that costs less than $100 per item.

South Carolina: Aug. 3 to 5
If your back-to-school list includes printers, software, bed linens, and even footwear, South Carolina’s 2018 sales tax holiday is a good time to make these purchases. 

Tennessee: July 27 to 29
Tennessee’s 2018 sales tax holiday includes qualifying clothing that costs up to $100 per item, school supplies up to $100, and computers up to $1,500.

Texas: Aug. 10 to 12
Texas’ 2018 sales tax holiday includes qualifying clothing, footwear, backpacks, and school supplies costing less than $100 per item.

Virginia: Aug. 3 to 5
During Virginia’s sales tax holiday, qualifying school supplies costing $20 or less, and clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less, are free from sales tax. That same weekend, you also can pick up emergency-preparedness products such as portable generators, plus Energy Star appliances, and benefit from the tax break. 

Wisconsin: Aug. 1 to 5
The state’s brand-new sales tax holiday exempts clothing and school supplies from tax if they cost $75 or less. You’ll also get a break on computers priced at $750 or less and school supplies of $250 or less if they’re for your personal use. The state also provides a list of what qualifies.