Score Back-to-School Items—Tax-Free

Anna Williams
Posted

tax free back to schoolIf your back-to-school shopping list is a mile long, you might be able to breathe a little easier soon—next month, you could be shopping in a tax-free zone.

For a limited time this season, 17 states are offering shoppers small savings by suspending taxes on popular back-to-school items—everything from shoes and pencils to calculators and MacBook laptops.

Cashing in on Back-to-School Benefits

Eligible items will vary by state—for example, Missouri will sell tax-free computers, while Mississippi will only offer a benefit on clothing and footwear worth $100 or less—but overall, you could save anywhere from 4% to 7% at the register if you shop strategically during the tax-break periods.

The discount couldn’t be happening at a better time, as economic pressure and continuing unemployment mean parents are choosing to be more cost-conscious about filling kids’ backpacks. According to a recent Working Mother-Chase Slate Back-to-School survey, more than 40% of working moms say they’ll likely have to shell out more this year for back-to-school items.

However, critics of the tax holiday argue that it only does more to boost our shopping peace-of-mind, not our actual bottom lines. “If you raise a poster advertising 5% off, that’s not going to get people through the doors,” Joseph Henchman, vice president for state projects at the Tax Foundation, told CNN Money. “But if you raise a poster saying ‘tax-free’ that will get people through the doors.”

To find out which states are going tax-free, check the following list of participating locations and applicable dates, and then head to CNN Money to learn more about specifics items that qualify.

Alabama: August 2-4
Arkansas: August 3-4
Connecticut: August 18-24
Florida: August 2-4
Georgia: August 9-10
Iowa: August 2-3
Louisiana: August 2-3
Maryland: August 11-17
Mississippi: July 26-27
Missouri: August 2-4
New Mexico: August 2-4
North Carolina: August 2-4
Oklahoma: August 2-4
South Carolina: August 2-4
Tennessee: August 2-4
Texas: August 9-11
Virginia: August 2-4

RELATED: The 10 States With the Highest Taxes