2020 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 16 states with at least one sales tax holiday in 2019, 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 2019 of state sales tax holidays currently on the books.
|Alabama||Weather Preparedness||February 21 – 23, 2020|
|Alabama||Back to School||July 17 – 19, 2020|
|Arkansas||Back to School||August 1 – 2, 2020|
|Connecticut||Back to School||August 15 – 22, 2020||20>
|Florida||Weather Preparedness||May 29 – June 4, 2020|
|Florida||Back to School||August 7 – 9, 2020|
|Iowa||Back to School||August 7 – 8, 2020|
|Maryland||Energy Star||February 15 – 17, 2020|
|Maryland||Back to School||August 9 – 15, 2020|
|Massachusetts||Back to School||August 29 – 30, 2020|
|Mississippi||Back to School||July 31 – August 1, 2020|
|Mississippi||Second Amendment||September 4 – 6, 2020|
|Missouri||“Show Me Green” (Energy Star)||April 19 – 25, 2019|
|Missouri||Back to School||August 7 – 9, 2020|
|New Mexico||Back to School||August 7 – 9, 2020|
|New Mexico||Small Business Saturday||November 28, 2020|
|Ohio||Back to School||August 7 – 9, 2020|
|Oklahoma||Back to School||August 7 – 9, 2020|
|South Carolina||Back to School||August 7 – 9, 2020|
|Tennessee||Back to School||July 31 – August 2, 2020|
|Texas||Weather Preparedness||April 25 – 27, 2020|
|Texas||Energy Star and Water Efficient Products||May 23 – 25, 2020|
|Texas||Back to School||August 7 – 9, 2020|
|Virginia||Back to School / Energy Star / Weather Preparedness||August 7 – 9, 2020|
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, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
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.
For a complete guide to helping you understand sales tax and your role in it, read our comprehensive Guide to Sales Tax.
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.