Summer vacation may still be in full swing, but for residents of states offering tax-free shopping days, it pays to get into a back-to-school state of mind. Shopping during designated tax-free days can save on select clothing, school supplies, and even electronics -- and there's no rule that there must be a student in the household to take advantage. The following 14 states are offering tax-free shopping in the dog days of August. Eligible items vary and some states don't require all retailers to participate, so look closely at the fine print before hitting the mall.
When to Shop Tax-Free in 14 States
During the first weekend in August, shoppers don't have to pay taxes on clothing that's $100 or less (per item), computers with prices of $750 or less, school supplies that are $50 or less, or books that are $30 or less. Certain categories, such as handbags and jewelry, are still taxable; see the complete list on Alabama's government site.
Clothing and footwear priced at less than $100 are tax-free, as are accessories and equipment such as jewelry and umbrellas under $50. All school supplies from a designated list, including art supplies and instructional materials of any price, are tax-free during the holiday, and all state retailers are required to participate.
Select "back-to-school" items, such as clothing under $100 (but not accessories) and certain school supplies and computers, are tax-free. But Missouri allows some counties, cities, and districts to opt out of the tax holiday weekend, so check the list of participating communities, as well as what's included, before shopping.
Clothing and footwear under $100, except for accessories, athletic clothing, and footwear, are exempt from sales tax. Also tax-free: school supplies under $30, computers, tablets, and ereaders up to $1,000; book bags, backpacks, and even maps under $100; and calculators less than $200. New Mexico does not require retailers to participate and some items are specifically excluded from the offer, so it's important to know the rules before heading to the register.
Most clothing and footwear costing less than $100 is exempt from sales tax during the holiday, and all retailers in the state are required to participate. As in some other states, accessories such as jewelry and handbags, special clothing, and athletic footwear aren't part of the holiday.
South Carolina is the only state that places no price limits on tax-free items. Everything from clothing and school supplies to bed and bath items and computers are included in the holiday, as are some items excluded in other states, such as handbags. Certain items such as jewelry are still off the list.
Select clothing and footwear under $100 are included in the tax-free holiday, as are school supplies that cost $20 or less. Additionally, some items that relate to hurricane and emergency preparedness, as well as energy savings, are tax-free. Examples include portable generators costing less than $1,000, gas-powered chainsaws under $350, and a number of Energy Star and WaterSense items for installation in a home.