States’ sales tax holidays have been around almost half a century, but only recently have they gained widespread traction, usually as political tools to give taxpaying constituents a purported break and local retailers more foot traffic.

Whether the tax savings – on everything from hurricane lamps and trigger locks to a grade schooler’s backpack – provide true financial relief for either buyers or sellers is debatable. But clearly states continue to favor these holidays. What’s up for the rest of 2024?

Popular items

Of the 45 states with a sales tax, almost half now have sales tax holidays. (Localities in Alaska, which has no state-wide sales tax, hold sales tax holidays on their own.) Most holidays offer tax-free periods (often weekends) where a state allows its sales tax to be automatically eliminated or reduced on consumer products such as back-to-school supplies, clothing or disaster-preparedness equipment. Eligible purchases are often limited to a dollar amount and local sales taxes are sometimes not waived.

With a few exemptions, all retailers both brick-and-mortar and online must participate if they’re required to collect and remit sales tax.

Some items get tax breaks in many states but others existing and proposed are unusual. New York and New Jersey, for instance, are considering special holidays tagged to the end-of-year shopping season. Nevada now offers a holiday only for members of the state National Guard and their families, Oct. 25-27 this year. Some states cater to the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, such as Louisiana’s sales tax holiday on firearms, ammunition, and hunting supplies this Sept. 6-8 and Mississippi’s similar holiday on Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

Some consumer items remain so prevalent in that sellers can now almost depend on holidays in states where they have enough sales to establish economic nexus. And though certain states – Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee (that last for groceries) – may still officially slate their holidays for 2024, but among sales tax holidays remaining this year:

Back-to-school supplies: Arkansas, Aug.3-4; Florida, July 29-Aug. 11; Mississippi (includes clothing and footwear), July 12-14; Missouri (includes clothing), Aug. 2-4; Ohio (includes clothing), Aug. 2-4; Tennessee (includes clothing), July 26-28; Texas (includes clothing), Aug. 9-11; Virginia, Aug. 2-4; and West Virginia (includes clothing and sports equipment), Aug. 2-5.

Emergency-preparedness equipment: Alabama, July 19-21; Florida (impact-resistant doors and windows), through June 30, and June 1-14 and Aug. 24-Sept. 6 for other items such as coolers, radios, pet-evacuation supplies, generators and batteries; and Virginia, Aug. 2-4;

Clean energy purchases: Florida, through June 30; and Virginia, Aug. 2-4;

Clothing (and usually footwear): Arkansas, Aug.3-4; Connecticut, Aug. 18-24; Iowa, Aug. 2-3; Maryland (includes backpacks and bookbags), Aug. 11-17; and Oklahoma, Aug. 2-4;

(Florida will also have a holiday for attraction admissions, electric scooters, equipment and supplies for pool, boating, camping and fishing and the outdoors on July 1-31 and for tools and work-safety gear on Sept.1-7.)

Not always a green light

Proposed holidays don’t always become reality. Recently Florida – apparently the king of states for sales tax holidays – tried SB 352 and HB 369, legislation that aimed to offer a holiday for any item purchased using virtual currency at specific establishments.

The bills were seen as part of the state’s bid to become a world capital of crypto, yet SB 352 and HB 369 both died in committee earlier this year.

Hard as they are to keep track of now, clearly sales tax holidays will become only more numerous in the future. Bear these holidays in mind as you sell in these states.

TaxConnex can help your business stay on top of your taxability and ensure you maintain sales tax compliance. Get in touch to learn how we can help you! 

Robert Dumas

Written by Robert Dumas

Accountant, consultant and entrepreneur, Robert Dumas began his public accounting career on the tax staff at Arthur Young & Co., followed by a brief stint at Grant Thornton. In 1998, Robert founded Tax Partners, which became the largest sales tax compliance service bureau in the country, and later sold it to Thomson Corporation. Robert founded TaxConnex in 2006 on the principle that the sales tax industry needed more than automation to truly help clients, thus building within TaxConnex a proprietary platform and network of sales tax experts to truly take sales tax off client’s plates.