You might have noticed states are picking on educational funding as they attempt to balance budgets. So why is it 16 states can still afford to offer back-to-school tax holidays? Even Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Mississippi -- which had the lowest student funding BEFORE the recession -- still participate. The loss of revenue is appreciable for many states. Massachusetts alone lost nearly $20 million during a single tax-free weekend in August 2010.
The annual August tax-relief holiday doesn't discriminate by age or income, but each state selects which back-to-school items are included. Happily, some allow consumers to use both online and printable coupons for their purchases and various larger merchants offer special sales geared to the event.
Here are the dates and some details for each participating state. Most only allow tax relief up to a set amount, such as $100 per item of clothing or $750 for computer equipment. Click on the links for complete details.
Alabama - Aug. 5 to 7
Includes clothing, school supplies, books, computers, software and computer supplies. Check this list for participating counties.
Arkansas - Aug. 6 to 7
Includes clothing, footwear, accessories, school equipment, art supplies and instructional materials.
Connecticut - Aug. 21-27
Applies only to clothing and footwear worth less than $300.
Florida - Aug. 12 to 14
Covers clothing, footwear and school supplies, but excludes books.
Iowa - Aug. 5 to 6
Applies to clothing, accessories, footwear and some sports supplies, including uniforms. Diapers and some other pre-school supplies are included.
Louisiana - Aug. 5 to 6
Applies to all "tangible personal property, other than vehicles and meals...provided the property is not for use in a business, trade or profession."
Maryland - Aug. 13 to 19
Includes clothing and footwear, but not such accessories as handbags, jewelry, etc.
Massachusetts - Aug 13 to 14 (Updated Aug. 4)
Applies to nearly all single items priced under $2,500.
Missouri - Aug. 5 to 7
Covers clothing, computers, computer equipment and school supplies. (Click on the above link for cities, counties and districts not participating in the tax holiday.)
New Mexico - Aug. 5 to 7
Exempts school supplies, computers, computer equipment, clothing, footwear, sports equipment and uniforms. Diapers and other pre-school items also are included on the list.
North Carolina - Aug 5 to 7
Includes clothing, sports equipment and uniforms, instructional materials, computers, software and computer supplies.
Oklahoma - Aug. 5 to 7
Applies to clothing and footwear of less than $100 per item, including diapers and other infant clothing.
South Carolina - Aug. 5 to 7
Exempts school supplies, linens, clothing, footwear, computers, printers and software.
Tennessee - Aug. 5 to 7
Applies to computers, clothing, and school and art supplies.
Texas - Aug. 19 to 21
Only applies to clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks.
Virginia - Aug. 5 to 7
Applies to school supplies and certain clothing and footwear.