Tax Free School Shopping Craze Sweeps The Nation

Back to school shopping takes excitement to another level as many states enacted tax free holidays this weekend, giving parents more money to spend on books, clothes, and necessities for the school year. These “holiday” states – consisting of mainly southeastern America – offer no sales taxes on certain items relevant to school supplies, making purchases more affordable in urban areas often too poor to fully supply their child’s educational “extras.”

#Taxfreeweekend includes Alabama, Iowa, Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Louisiana, Florida, Missouri, and Tennessee, with each state offering different promotional tax free advertisements that began Friday. Florida offers their promotions for two weeks, while several states will end their promos Saturday. While consumers are giddy about saving money, Tax Foundation reports show having this tax free “luxury” weekend has slowed normal school shopping events, normally the week before and proceeding the first full week of August.

For Ohio, having the tax free weekend lifted retail sales by 4.8 percent, stuffing $78 million back into household pockets. Tax revenue lost was offset by impulse items and those purchases not considered tax exempt. On average, states who’ve held this annual event – dating back to 1990’s – have saved an average of $30 per household, which equals another outfit and extra supplies for some families. Missouri parents can save 4 percent, the state’s current tax threshold, with most sales applying to clothing goods under $100 or computers under $3,500. Each state has different restrictions, but with even fractional tax savings coupled with store-wide sales events, the savings will really add up.

New Mexico has an incredible tax free event, too, while other states are actually mulling over the benefits of allowing tax free purchases. The Tennessean reported several children would divert the savings into purchases like iPads and other wants, easily accomplished since 10 percent is Tennessee’s current retail tax rate. A nickel here, several pennies there – the savings are tremendous considering most families spend an average of $630 per child for back-to-school shopping.

In Texas, companies like J Crew and Banana Republic are offering an additional 15 percent off items when teachers or students present their school identification. Amazon Prime has even jumped into the fray, offering special deals for Prime members in states where tax free weekend applies. Whether all 50 states will soon offer assistance with school shopping in the form of tax offsets is unclear, yet with welfare tightening down and many organizations unable to help, it would certainly make sense.

You can find your state’s schedule and tax exempt items either at your state’s tax website, or check out news outlet Heavy who did the work for you.

[Photo by Tim Boyle / Getty Images News]