Tax-free online sales tax holiday shopping

12 states are holding sales tax holidays this weekend. But what if you hate crowded shopping centers?

You still might be able to get sales tax breaks on eligible items you buy online.

Online sales exempt, too

The websites for tax holidays in Florida, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina and Virginia all specifically note that qualifying items in their states that are purchased online, by mail or over the phone also are tax-free.

This exemption generally applies as long as the electronic order is placed and payment made during the tax holiday period even if the products are delivered after the tax holiday ends.

Business coding key

Companies that help retailers handle their sales tax obligations should be on top of how the holidays affect businesses’ e-commerce activities, too. Most help the e-tailers set up product codes so that during the tax holiday period the sales taxes are not added to the exempt items purchased online.

Even Amazon is in on the act. The Seattle-based online giant says it participates in sales tax holidays in those states where it is required to collect tax. That’s 28 of them.

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Where Amazon and tax holidays meet

This year, there are tax holidays in 9 states where Amazon collects sales taxes. They are the upcoming tax-free days in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, as well as in Georgia and Tennessee, which held their holidays in July.

In these e-commerce cases, when a state’s qualifying sales-tax-free product is purchased on Amazon and shipped to a buyer in that tax holiday state, the tax won’t be added to the online purchase.

Be careful, though. Independent retailers who simply use Amazon to fulfill their online orders might not be up to date on the tax holidays. To make sure you don’t get charged tax on your online purchase through one of these third-party sellers, you need to contact that company directly.

Or maybe just head to the mall.

Do you shop during tax holidays? Do you wait for the tax-free days to shop? Do you shop in person or go online? How much do you usually save?

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Keep up with federal and state tax news, as well as find filing tips, calculators and more at Bankrate’s Tax Center.

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