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Tax-Free Weekend Dates, States and Savings for Back-to-School Shopping

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01.08.2020

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Whether your kids will be learning from home or in the classroom this fall, you'll have to do some back-to-school shopping to prepare for the new school year. And, as every parent knows, the bill for new clothes, shoes, backpacks, and other schools supplies can get very high, very quickly.

Thankfully, some states cut you a break on back-to-school shopping by holding a sales tax holiday before school starts. As the name suggests, if you purchase qualifying items during one of these holidays, the store won't tack on sales tax at the register. Most of these back-to-school sales tax holidays are in August and run through the weekend (often starting on Friday). But the dates, duration, and qualifying items vary widely from state to state. So, if you live in (or near) a state with one of these "tax-free weekends," make sure you familiarize yourself with the timing and scope of the available sales tax exemption before you head out for your back-to-school shopping.

To get you up to speed, we've listed the 16 states with a tax-free weekend for back-to-school shopping in 2020. We also provide an overview of the sales tax exemption and provide links to additional information (unless otherwise noted, the exemptions cover both state and local sales taxes). If you're interested in other 2020 sales tax holidays, see Sales Tax Holidays in 2020.

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Alabama's 2020 sales tax holiday for back-to-school shopping runs from July 17 to July 19. The sales tax exemption generally applies to clothing costing $100 or less, computers and related items priced up to $750, school supplies priced up to $50, and books costing $30 or less. For details on what is exempt and what is taxable, see the guidelines on the Alabama DOR's website.

Counties and cities in the state must opt in for the sales tax holidays to apply within their borders. The Alabama DOR has a list of the participating local governments on its website.

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Get ready to save on back-to-school shopping in Arkansas on August 1 and 2 this year. During the state's sales tax holiday, there's no sales tax on general clothing costing less than $100, various accessories priced below $50, school supplies (including art supplies), and school instructional materials. The exemption doesn't cover sewing equipment and supplies, protective equipment, sport or recreational equipment, belt buckles sold separately, computers and periphery equipment, software, and many other items. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has a detailed list of what's exempt and what's taxable during the tax-free weekend on its website.

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Connecticut's sales tax holiday lasts a whole week. In 2020, it runs from August 16 to 22. The downside is that the sales tax exemption is more limited than in most other states – it only applies to items costing less than $100. In addition, the sales tax holiday doesn't provide an........

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