taxes

2009 tax holiday schedule

Fifteen states are offering shoppers back-to-school sales-tax holidays this year. The participating jurisdictions are listed below alphabetically.

Most of the tax-exempt shopping sessions fall in early August. But be sure to carefully schedule your shopping trip or you could miss out on the savings. Georgia's event starts on a Thursday instead of the usual Friday; Connecticut and Texas shoppers have to wait until later in the month for their tax bargains. And some of the holidays come up a bit short, such as the events in Iowa and Louisiana that end at midnight Saturday instead of running through the end of the weekend.

Also, do your homework before you shop. Some items you give the clerk to ring up might not save you any sales-tax dollars. And the tax-free or still-taxable designations aren't always logical.

Participating states have detailed and sometimes seemingly contradictory lists of sales-tax-exempt items and those on which stores will still tally tax. Check them out before hitting the mall.

Alabama

  • Tax holiday dates: Aug. 7 to Aug. 9
  • General exempt items: During the first weekend of each August, Alabama shoppers will be spared paying state sales tax on clothing costing less than $100, as well as on school supplies selling for up to $50 each and books that cost up to $30. Computers and software are also tax-exempt as long as their costs do not exceed $750.
  • Notable exceptions: While the state sales tax will not be collected this weekend, cities and counties have the choice to opt out of the holiday. The state has compiled a table showing which local jurisdictions are participating.

More information is available on Alabama's sales-tax holiday Web site.

Connecticut

  • Tax holiday dates: Aug. 16 to Aug. 22
  • General exempt items: Clothing and footwear costing less than $300 per item are free from sales and use taxes during this week. Layaway purchases also qualify, as long as the customer puts the qualifying clothing or footwear on layaway during the tax-exclusion week; none of the subsequent payments, even if made after the sales tax holiday ends, are taxable. Rented clothing, such as formal wear, also is exempt, as long as it does not exceed $300 and the customer takes possession of the clothing during the tax holiday week.
  • Notable exceptions: Be careful when time-shifting purchases. If you place a tax-exempt article on layaway during the tax holiday week, none of your payments on the item are taxable even if they are made after the holiday ends. But if you get a rain check for a tax-exempt eligible item that is unavailable during the holiday week and you redeem it after the tax holiday ends, the item is taxable.

More information is available on Connecticut's sales-tax holiday Web site.

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Georgia

  • Tax holiday dates: July 30 to Aug. 2
  • General exempt items: Peach State shoppers get a bit of a head start with the state's sales-tax holiday starting on a Thursday, and it applies to a wide variety of purchases. During the event, state sales tax will not be collected on clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less; a single purchase of $1,500 or less of personal computers and/or related accessories; and general school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less per item. The state will hold a second sales tax holiday Oct. 1 to Oct. 4 for specific energy- and water-efficient products. Tax officials provide details on that holiday on the Department of Revenue Web site as that holiday nears.
  • Notable exceptions: Clothing accessories (handbags, jewelry, etc.) are not tax-free. As for computers, if the single purchase exceeds $1,500, then the entire transaction is taxable. The sales-tax exemptions do not apply to items sold at theme parks, entertainment complexes, hotels, restaurants and airports.
More information is available at Georgia's sales tax holiday Web page.

 

 

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