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Sales Tax Holidays, 2011

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For several years, many states offer sales tax holidays, several dates set aside during which merchants will not charge customers sales tax. Each year, the dates and the participating states change. I’ve updated this list for 2011 as we’re approach the back-to-school shopping season. Consumers should take advantage of the few days their state offers a break from paying sales tax on needed items, if the state is participating.

The benefit of not owing sales tax on a purchase can add to typical sales and discounts. In some cases, the sales tax holiday has enabled retailers to neglect offering discounts they otherwise would have offered, so make sure you watch the prices of the items you plan to buy. Retailers may schedule sales to end at the same time the sales tax holiday begins.

Each state that offers a sales tax holiday sets its own qualifying dates and products. Qualifying products vary by state, but most who have a tax holiday offer school supplies as qualifying purchases. Others include Energy Star products, computers, weather preparedness items, and in one case, hunting equipment.

Here’s a list of each state’s sales tax holiday this year.

State 2011 Dates Items Max Cost
Alabama Aug 5-7 Clothing $100
Computers $750
School supplies $50
Books $30
Arkansas Aug 6-7 Clothing $100
School supplies
Connecticut Aug 21-27 Clothing and footwear $300
Florida Aug 12-14 Clothing and books $75
School supplies $15
Iowa Aug 5-6 Clothing $100
Louisiana Aug 5-6 Tangible personal property $2,500
Louisiana May 28-29 Hurricane preparedness items $1,500
Louisiana Sep 2-4 Firearms, ammunition, hunting supplies
Mississippi Jul 29-30 Clothing and footwear $100
Maryland Aug 14-20 Clothing and footwear $100
Maryland Feb 19-20 Energy star products
Massachusetts Aug 13-14 Tangible personal property $2,500
Mississippi Jul 29-30 Clothing and footwear $100
Missouri Apr 19-25 Energy Star products $1,500
Missouri Aug 5-7 Clothing $100
Computers $3,500
School supplies $50
New Mexico Aug 5-7 Clothing $100
Computers $1,000
School supplies $15
North Carolina Aug 5-7 Clothing $100
School supplies $100
Instructional material $300
Computers $3,500
Other computer equipment $250
Sports equipment $50
Oklahoma Aug 5-7 Clothing $100
South Carolina Aug 5-7 Clothing, school supplies, computers, other
Tennessee Aug 5-7 Clothing $100
School supplies $100
Computers $1,500
Texas Aug 19-21 Clothing, backpacks and school supplies $100
Texas May 28-30 Air conditioners $6,000
Other Energy Star products $2,000
Virginia May 25-31 Hurricane preparedness items $60
Generators $1,000
Virginia Aug 5-7 Clothing $100
School supplies $20
Virginia Oct 7-10 Energy Star products $2,500

I’ll update this list as we become aware of official changes.

Published or updated August 8, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar lynn ♦155 (Cent)

I noticed NY isn’t on the list.

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avatar qixx ♦1,826 (Half-Dollar)

neither is Washington. For sales tax holiday i just shop in Oregon when i visit family.

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avatar SteveDH

Here in Missouri, our tax holiday just concluded and it was a success when looking at it from a business or consumer perspective. We consumers were able to reduce our cost on all sorts of purchases but the Back-to-School thing is laughable. My wife and I both bought new clothes for an upcoming cruise. Retailers had a great weekend too as consumers flocked-in from Arkansas and Illinois. Some came from as far away as Little Rock -heck of a drive- not only for the tax relief but also for the many sales that accompanied the weekend. Although there may have been some who did not offer additional discounts there were many that coupled sales along with the holiday in order to achieve greater volume. Except for having to tolerate the whining from the other side of the Mississippi it was a good weekend for smart shoppers.

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avatar shellye ♦107 (Cent)

Texas’ list of tax-exempt items is pretty stingy; back in the day, half of Oklahoma used to come down here to shop our tax-free weekend. Not only has that state now initiated their own tax-free weekend, but they made it earlier in the month. Ours is literally the weekend before school starts. According to my daughter, who works in a retail store in one of the malls here, business has been crazy for the past two or three weeks. Seems like shoppers here can’t or won’t wait two more weeks to save on sales tax.

For those in Louisiana or Massachusetts – what is “tangible personal property” that you can buy tax-free? That sounds intriguing.

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avatar SteveDH

As far as Businesses go, tangible personal property describes personal property that can be physically relocated, such as furniture and office equipment. Tangible personal property is always depreciated over either a five- or seven-year period using straight-line amortization, but is eligible for accelerated depreciation as well. For the MA/LA tax payer ???????

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avatar wylerassociate ♦907 (Dime)

I noticed that Arizona or Michigan are not on the list as well.

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avatar Cejay ♦1,521 (Half-Dollar)

Georgia stopped their tax free shopping days last year. I guess we were losing too much money since everyone got smart. I did not go shopping at all that weekend. The stores were much too crowded. I thought that it was a great idea but the policitians thought otherwise.

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avatar skylog ♦368 (Nickel)

pennsylvania is not on this list as well. as a resident of the keystone state, it is nice that we are not taxed on clothes, but i have to say that i would not mind trading that in for the chance to not pay taxes on a large purchase once a year.

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avatar Joe Morgan

It never ceases to amaze me how state governments can argue that increasing taxes won’t negatively impact the economy, and then turn around an promote tax holidays! Despite their words to the contrary, this action alone shows they do not believe what they say!

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