Tax-Free Weekends: Back-to-School Savings in 15 States

Last Updated Aug 5, 2011 8:37 AM EDT

This is a big month for saving throughout the country, as more than a dozen states host tax-free retail "holidays," aimed at boosting retail sales by giving shoppers a chance to save on state sales tax.

Many of the events kick off this Friday and last through the weekend. The folks at BargainJill.com have put together a list of all the participating states for August, as well as what items are covered.

Here's a summary of the states, the relevant merchandise categories and the tax-free spending limits. Click on the state to find its official tax-free holiday announcement:

Alabama
From August 5-7, shoppers avoid the state's 4% general merchandise tax on:
  • Clothing â€" up to $100
  • Computers â€" up to $750
  • School supplies â€" up to $50
  • Books â€" up to $30
From August 6-7, the state, which usually tacks on a 6% tax on general merchandise, is offering the following tax-free allowances:
  • Clothing and footwear â€" up to $100
  • Clothing accessories â€" up to $50
  • School supplies, art supplies, school instructional material - no price limit
From August 21-27, shoppers can avoid the 6.35% sales tax on:
  • Clothing and footwear â€" up to $300
From August 12-14, the following items are exempt from the state's 6% sales tax:
  • School supplies â€" up to $15
  • Clothing, wallets, bags and backpacks - up to $75
From August 5-6, the state will lift its 6% sales tax on:
  • Clothing and shoes - up to $100
From August 5-6, the state will lift its 4% sales tax on:
  • "Tangible personal property" for non-business use, excluding cars and "to-go" meal purchases - up to the first $2,500 of the purchase price
"Shop Maryland Week" kicks off August 14 and lasts until August 20. The following items are exempt from the state's 6% sales tax:
  • Clothing and footwear â€" up to $100
From August 5-7, the state's 4.225% sales tax will be lifted on the following:
  • Clothing â€" up to $100 or less
  • School supplies â€" up to $50
  • Computer software â€" up to $350
  • Personal computers â€" up to $3,500
  • Computer peripheral devices â€" up to $3,500
From August 5-7, the state will remove its "gross receipts" tax, which varies from 5.125% to 8.6875% depending on the store's location, on the following items:
  • Clothing and shoes â€" up to $100
  • Computers â€" up to $1,000
  • Related computer hardware: up to $500
  • School supplies â€" up to $15
From August 5-7, the state's 5.75% sales tax rate will be lifted on:
  • Clothing and shoes â€" up to $100
  • School supplies â€" up to $100
  • Instructional material â€" up to $300
  • Sports and recreational equipment - up to $50
  • Computers â€" up to $3,500
  • Computer supplies â€" up to $250
  • Sports equip â€" up to $50
From August 5-7, the state will lift its 4.5% sales tax on:
  • Clothing and shoes â€" up to $100
From August 5-7, the state will remove its 6% tax rate on the following tax items with no price limitations:
  • Clothing and shoes
  • School supplies
  • Computers
  • Bed and bath accessories (e.g. blankets, linens, towels, shower curtains, etc.)
From August 5-7, the state will remove its 5.5% sales tax on:
  • Clothing â€" up to $100
  • School supplies â€" up to $100
  • Computers â€" up to $1,500
From August 19-21, shoppers won't have to pay the combined state and local tax rate of 8.25% on:
  • Clothing - up to $100
  • Backpacks - up to $100
  • School supplies â€" up to $100
From August 5-7, the state will lift its sales tax rate of 5% on:
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    Farnoosh Torabi is a personal finance journalist and commentator. She is the author of the new book Psych Yourself Rich, Get the Mindset and Discipline You Need to Build Your Financial Life. Follow her at www.farnoosh.tv and on Twitter at @farnoosh.

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