Sales tax holidays are back

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for

Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

You might call sales-tax holidays gimmicks that cost states much-needed money. Or maybe you see it as a boost to local economies. Either way, it’s a popular event that’s a back-to-school tradition. I’m Janet Stauble with your Personal Finance Minute.

This summer, there are 17 sales-tax holidays where states exempt certain items from sales taxes within a short time period. In some states, the no-tax bargains run for just a couple days. In others, the events extend for a full week. Clothes and school supplies are the most common tax-free items. But some states have broad definitions of school-related purchases, so shoppers could save substantial taxes on computers, electronics and accessories. Before you cash in on the savings, just pay attention to the details. Each state has precise rules for what is and isn’t tax-free. There are also guidelines if your purchase involves multiple items, rain checks, layaways or coupons.

Want to find out the details of your state’s sales-tax holiday? Log onto I’m Janet Stauble.