Update: Sales Tax Holiday weekend has come and gone until next year.

Sales tax holidays can be confusing because not every state has them, some states don't even pay sales tax, and the ones that do don't have them every year (I'm looking at you, Massachusetts). So what exactly is the benefit of this tax-free weekend and who does it apply to?

Simply put the states with a tax-free weekend don't charge sales tax, or just charge less sales tax in the case of Louisiana, for a small period of time on certain products. That's 5-7% savings for everything you buy during that time, which can add up. It's usually done with a back-to-school edge to it, giving the discount on school supplies like pens and notebooks. Different states exempt different products, but you can generally get exempt from clothing and computer purchases as well.

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Online shopping is not exempt from the tax-free weekend. Many retailers, including Amazon and Walmart have help pages acknowledging Sales Tax Holidays. Several of the states, including Virginia and Maryland, mention online shopping specifically in the tax-free law. Essentially, as long as you order the item within the exemption window and pay for it within the window, you should be exempt. It is very complicated though. Each state will be different, not all retailers can support the holiday online, and you probably won't be able to get tax free products from third-party marketplaces and vendors.

You can expect to see some sales from Amazon on the exempt items, so keep an eye on this page for all the info!

Avoid sales tax for one weekend

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State Dates Exempt Items: Cost per Item
Arkansas Aug 5 - 6 School supplies: No limit
Clothing: $100
Clothing accessories and equipment: $50
Connecticut Aug 20 - 26 Clothing and footwear: $100
Florida Aug 4 - 6 School supplies: $15
Clothing and footwear: $60
Computers and accessories: $750
Iowa Aug 4 - 5 Clothing and footwear: $100
Louisiana Aug 4 - 5 2% break on most consumer goods: $2,500
Maryland Aug 13 - 19 Clothing and footwear: $100
First $40 on Backpacks
* Massachusetts Aug 19 - 20 Most consumer goods: $2,500
Missouri Aug 4 - 6 School supplies: $50
Clothing: $100
Computers and peripherals: $1,500
Computer software: $350
Graphing calculators: $150
New Mexico Aug 4 - 6 School supplies: $30
Clothing and footwear: $100
Computers: $1,000
Computer equipment: $500
Ohio Aug 4 - 6 School supplies: $20
School instructional material: $20
Clothing: $75
Oklahoma Aug 4 - 6 Clothing and footwear: $100
South Carolina Aug 4 - 6 School supplies: No limit
Clothing and accessories: No limit
Computers and accessories: No limit
Home and bath items: No limit
Texas Aug 11 - 13 School supplies: $100
Clothing and footwear: $100
Backpacks: $100
Virginia Aug 4 - 6 School supplies: $20
Clothing and footwear: $100
Hurricane and emergency preparedness products: $1,000
Energy Star products: $2,500

There are limits, however. Usually, the items you buy can't exceed a certain price point on an individual item. So, for example, your pens and notebooks both have to be less than $30 a piece even if they add up to more than $30. Computers often have the harshest limits, like you can't buy a computer that costs more than $750 in some states. That limits you to laptops and sometimes not very good ones. The only place none of this applies is South Carolina because their state law has no limitations on money spent.

Each sales tax holiday is different. The legislation is renewed, or sometimes not renewed, every year and the wording often gets changed. We've done our best to link to official announcements for each holiday so you can see the details for yourself, but we've also broken down the dates and the exempted items.

This weekend is a big one as ten states have their sales tax holiday between August 4 and 6. Take advantage of this because retailers know there's a tax-free holiday coming up and you can probably expect to see sales on the exempted items.

Also, remember, because sales tax is always applied at the end of a transaction you can combine this holiday with other deals and coupons that might bring the item you want below the "Cost Per Item" threshold. This might be a good time to put some student and educator discounts to work.

* Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker brought up this legislation Wed., Aug 2, but it has not yet passed or failed.

** Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee had sales tax holidays in July.

*** Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not have tax free weekends because they do not pay sales tax. Lucky dogs.

States with no sales tax holidays: Arizona, California, Colorado (not since 2015), Georgia (legislation failed to pass this year), Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois (not since 2010), Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

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