As hard as it might be to believe, it’s already time to start back-to-school shopping in the US. To make the painful transition a little easier, several states are offering a “Tax-Free Weekend” Aug. 4-6, the annual period when shoppers can pay no (or significantly reduced) sales tax on designated items.
Though the tax holiday is geared toward parents of school-age children, there are many products that will be available tax-free beyond kids’ clothes and school supplies. Apple is getting in on the action, launching an informational page so shoppers can understand how to take advantage of tax-free purchases.
There are going to be great opportunities for some serious savings this weekend, and it helps to understand the details before whipping out your credit card. Here is what you need to know to take advantage of tax-free deals in each participating state:
What is Tax-Free Weekend?
New York first started the tax holiday two decades ago, and since then, more states have joined (New York no longer participates, and now offers a year-round exemption on its 4% sales tax for clothing and footwear up to $110). Some states have tax-free days during other times of the year; most happen in early August to allow parents to realize savings on school shopping.
Which states are participating in Tax-Free Weekend?
Fifteen states are participating tax-free events this summer. Tennessee and Mississippi’s tax-free shopping days have already passed, but this weekend Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Missouri, Louisiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Arkansas will offer tax-free or reduced-tax shopping deals for certain items. Texas is participating the following weekend (Aug. 11-13), followed by Maryland during the week of Aug. 13, and Connecticut the week of Aug. 20. Each state will offer some kind of a tax break, but each has its own set of rules governing what is and isn’t possible during tax-free weekend.
What can I buy during Tax-Free Weekend?
You don’t have to be a parent or be going back to school to score deals, anyone in the participating states can shop tax-free. There are a few limits, however: Many states have restrictions on what kinds of items are eligible for tax-free shopping, limit the number of products allowed in a single purchase, or set price-limits on tax-free deals, so be sure to check the fine print before you buy a dozen laptops and an entire new wardrobe.
What about those tax-free Apple purchases?
Apple is promoting tax-free weekend buying in six US states: Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Virginia. You can head over to Apple’s website to check out the full list of products that are eligible, along with spending limits and other information.
Here is a general breakdown of the eligible Apple products during tax-free weekend:
- Florida : Residents can purchase a computer or related accessory up to a value of $750, including all eligible Macs and iPads, and all software that also falls under the $750 threshold.
- New Mexico: Residents can purchase a computer or related accessory up to a value of $1,000, including accessories like speakers, printers, keyboards, and mice with a sales price of no more than $500.
- Louisiana: All products up to a total value of $2,500 will be subject to a tax rate of just 3%, compared to the regular 5%.
- Missouri: Other than the iPhone, all computers and related accessories including products like the Apple TV with a sales price of up to $1,500 are applicable for tax reductions, as is software priced up to $350.
- South Carolina: Computers, iPads, printers, software and other accessories are eligible. There’s no spending limit here, but accessories not sold with a CPU will remain taxable.
- Virginia: All products priced up to $20 qualify for tax reductions (good luck to any intrepid shoppers who can find an Apple product that falls within that limit), while mobile phone chargers and batteries priced at $60 or less also qualify.