Unless you live in Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, or Oregon, you probably pay sales tax on items you purchase in your favorite retail establishment. But you might be able to get a taste of what its like to be an Alaskan within the next few weeks.
17 states are giving back-to-school shoppers a break from paying sales tax on certain school-related purchases beginning July 29th and continuing into mid-August. Click here to see if your state is participating and how your special tax relief holiday works. The individual states determine the dates of their own tax holiday (usually only a two-day weekend), which types of purchases are exempt from sales tax and which are not, and also any special price limits. As of this morning, Massachusetts is likely going to join in since the state has brought in more revenue than anticipated in recent months. bringing the total number of participating states to 18.
These tax holidays are meant to stimulate the economy. There is also the added benefit of encouraging citizens to spend money on education and educational supplies, a behavior that is typically encouraged in this country anyway. Shoppers love these sales tax holidays, but retailers generally see them as extra work. Some who oppose the tax holidays say that they are a political gimmick.