Tax-free shopping weekend 2016 has arrived, and shoppers looking for details on all the states participating, as well as a list of all the best sales, can find all the information here.
This weekend marks the time of year when a dozen states suspend sales taxes, giving shoppers a chance to grab all their back-to-school needs as well as summer clearances at an added discount. For retail outlets, it’s a chance to grab some extra revenue at a time when business is normally slower, with many Americans on vacation or otherwise occupied with their normal summer regimen of cookouts and baseball.
Not all states will be participating in the tax-free shopping weekend. The states taking part this weekend include Ohio, Texas, New Mexico, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia.
The exact details of the tax-free shopping weekend also vary by state, with some offering restrictions on which purchases will be free of taxes (as USA Today pointed out, school supplies are generally exempt, but those looking for a new iPhone likely won’t get the savings).
In Ohio, for example, the tax-free weekend applies to clothing and school supplies but won’t work for sporting wear or accessories, Fox 8 Cleveland noted.
It’s not just for in-store purchases, either. Bankrate noted that online retailers are also participating in the tax-free shopping weekend, though some smaller stores may need a bit of prompting.
“Be careful, though. Independent retailers who simply use Amazon to fulfill their online orders might not be up to date on the tax holidays. To make sure you don’t get charged tax on your online purchase through one of these third-party sellers, you need to contact that company directly.”
There’s the potential for some huge savings. The National Retail Federation estimates that shoppers will spend a total of $75 billion this year on back-to-school shopping, so any bit of savings will help consumers.
And many retailers are offering some traditional back-to-school sales on top of the tax-free shopping weekend. Here are some of the best deals (via the Star-Telegram).
“Old Navy: 60 percent off selected kids clothing, including uniform-style polos for $5, shorts and skirts for $9, shorts for $8 and pants for $10. T-shirts start at $3.95, jeans at $10, hoodies at $12.
Walmart: 300 school supplies for less than $1, more than 1,000 supplies for less than $3; TI-84-plus calculator for $88; Samsung Chrome book $189; mini-fridge for $59; microwave for $35. New this year to avoid the crowds, order up to 200 back-to-school items online and pick up already bundled together at the store.
Target: Buy one/get one 60 percent off school uniforms; polos $7, pants $15, backpacks starting at $11.19.”
The tax-free shopping weekend has generated controversy in some places. There has been a push in Texas to end the weekend, which critics note costs the state an estimated $90 million in revenue each year.
But there are many politicians vowing to keep the holiday in place, ABC 13 in Houston noted.
“This matters to everyday Texas and we ought to do as much as we can to expand it. I know it’s going to be tough with budget issues when the legislature goes back in session, but I’m going to do as much as I can to protect this holiday because it matters to so many people,” said Texas State Sen. Rodney Ellis.
But other states have already cut back on the tax-free weekend, with some cutting it out entirely.
For those looking for more information on the tax-free shopping weekend 2016, USA Today has a breakdown of what each state will be exempting from taxes and how long the sales will last. A full list of the back-to-school sales being offered alongside the tax-free shopping weekend can be found here.
[Photo by Jim Mone/AP Images]