2018 Sales Tax Holidays by State
While sales tax holidays are a nice treat for consumers, they can make the arduous task of keeping track of sales tax for your ecommerce business even more of a headache. Fortunately, they only come around a few times a year, but of course, every state does things a little differently. That means that you need to know whether you’re required to participate or only strongly encouraged, whether the tax holiday applies to local taxes or only the state sales tax, and what items specifically are included.
There are currently 15 states with at least one sales tax holiday scheduled for 2018, and they generally fall into one of three categories. The most common sales tax holidays are timed to coincide with back-to-school shopping, while second amendment and weather preparedness holidays are regularly scheduled in a few states as well.
As the dates of the sales tax holidays, as well as which states have them and what they’re for, can change from one year to the next, we’ve compiled an updated list for 2018 of state sales tax holidays currently on the books.
|Alabama||Weather Preparedness||February 23 – 25, 2018|
|Alabama||Back to School||July 20 – 22, 2018|
|Arkansas||Back to School||August 4 – 5, 2018|
|Connecticut||Back to School||August 19 – 25, 2018|
|Florida||Weather Preparedness||June 1 – 7, 2018|
|Florida||Back to School||August 3 – 5, 2018|
|Iowa||Back to School||August 3 – 4, 2018|
|Louisiana||Weather Preparedness||May 26 – 27, 2018|
|Louisiana||Second Amendment||September 7-9, 2018|
|Maryland||Energy Star||February 17 – 19, 2018|
|Maryland||General||August 18 – 19, 2018|
|Massachusetts||Back to School||August 11 – 12, 2018|
|Mississippi||Back to School||July 27 – 28 2018|
|Mississippi||Second Amendment||August 31 – September 2, 2018|
|Missouri||Energy Star||April 19 – 25, 2018|
|Missouri||Back to School||August 3 – 5, 2018|
|New Mexico||Back to School||August 3 – 5, 2018|
|Ohio||Back to School||August 3 – 5, 2018|
|Oklahoma||Back to School||August 3 – 5, 2018|
|South Carolina||Back to School||August 3 – 5, 2018|
|Tennessee||Back to School||July 27 – 29, 2018|
|Texas||Weather Preparedness||April 28 – 30, 2018|
|Texas||Energy Star and Water Efficient Products||May 26 – 28, 2018|
|Texas||Back to School||August 10 – 12, 2018|
|Virginia||Back to School / Energy Star /|
|August 3 – 5, 2018|
|Wisconsin||Back to School||August 3 – 5, 2018|
States Without Sales Tax Holidays
The following states do not currently have a planned sales tax holiday: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Some of these used to have sales tax free weekends/holidays but cancelled them in recent years:
- North Carolina cancelled theirs in 2014, and although legislators considered adding it back in 2016, it did not pass.
Georgia and several of the states listed above as not having a have had various sales tax holidays in the past and may again pass legislation to approve them for 2018. At this time, however, there are no firm sales tax holidays in these states. (We will update this page as legislation passes and additional holidays are approved.)
Other states are considering new sales tax holidays.
- Indiana – Bills in both houses of the state legislature last year would have created a tax-free weekend in Indiana for items like clothing and school supplies. Those bills failed to become law, but it’s an idea that has recently been in circulation.
- Nebraska – Sen. Rick Kolowski of Omaha has introduced LB361 that would create a back-to-school sales tax holiday, aiming to keep shoppers from heading to Iowa to make their purchases. (Iowa currently has a sales tax holiday.) The bill would exempt clothing and footwear.
- New Mexico – This state is actually looking to get rid of their tax holiday.
- Rhode Island – Rep. Joseph Solomon Jr. (D-Warwick), has tried repeatedly to create a tax-free weekend for back-to-school shopping. Similar measures failed in both 2015 and 2016. The proposal would exempt most tangible personal property under $2500 from sales tax.
- Tennessee – Tennessee currently has a back-to-school tax holiday, but is considering adding a second-amendment tax holiday as well. It is currently stuck in committee in the senate and has been placed behind the budget in the house.
- Texas – Although Texas already has three sales tax holidays, Sen. Brandon Creighton of Conroe has proposed a bill to exempt guns and most hunting supplies for a period just before the start of hunting season for several years in a row.
- Virginia – Senator Scott Surovell wants to extend the back-to-school tax free weekend to include computers. Note that this holiday is assumed but not yet official as of this writing.
- Washington – House Bill 1457 from Rep. Morgan Irwin would establish a back-to-school sales tax holiday for the state of Washington. If passed, it will exempt clothing items that don’t exceed $100 and school supplies of $10 or less from sales tax during the holiday.
Tips for Retailers
In order to make sure you track your sales accurately during these sales tax holidays, you need to know whether or not you are required to participate in the sales tax holidays, and plan accordingly. This includes modifying tax calculations on your website or in-store as needed, and classifying exempt items properly. The use of sales tax software like our TaxTools product can help simplify the process and help you make sure you’re in compliance with tax holiday laws and regulations.
Breaking it Down
If you analyze the list above, you’ll notice that there are really only 4 main types of tax holidays. These are:
- Back to School Sales Tax Holidays – These are the most common across the board. The holiday generally happens just before school-age children are set to return to the classroom in the fall. What gets exempted from sales tax differs somewhat by state, but it generally includes school supplies, clothing, shoes, and sometimes computers and software.
- Energy Star Appliance Sales Tax Holidays – This holiday encourages consumers to decrease their use of energy resources by purchasing appliances that are more energy or water efficient.
- Second Amendment Sales Tax Holidays – Despite the political divide over gun rights, several states exempt these items from sales and use tax with a holiday. In general, these occur just before the start of hunting season.
- Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays – This type of holiday exempts items that people would need when power goes out, severe storms hit, or during other types of emergencies. Think batteries, flashlights, and power generators.