Recently, I wrote about how to save money on back to school shopping. I mentioned a few strategies such as taking advantage of American Express Sync promotions, gift cards, and tracking store sales in weekly circulars. But, I missed a big one that will also add a bit of punch to your savings – sales tax free shopping days. Today, we’ll discuss how to find them so you can see if there’s an opportunity for tax free shopping in your state or local area in your future.
First, let’s discuss what I mean by “tax free” shopping and why it’s a big deal for some, but not for others. Several states don’t tax purchases, Oregon for example. So, if you are lucky enough to live there, you can stop reading. But, read on for entertainment purposes, and to share this post. For states that do tax your purchases, many have designated periods of the year, around the holidays for example, where they will waive the tax. That’s huge. Avoiding 5, 7, or 10% tax can make a huge savings dent on “big ticket”items, such as fridges. Maryland offers this break on “energy star” purchases.
If you aren’t lucky enough to live in a sales tax free state, you need to visit this page to find out if and when your state is offering tax free shopping days. The Federation of Tax Administrators has posted a helpful guide to the states, periods of the year, and items that are offered tax free. For example, Alabama will be offering tax free shopping August 7th to 9th this year. But, there is a catch. Not all localities may be participating in this event, and, the sales tax may be waived on only certain items, such as school supplies. You should check to see if 1) your state participates (DC, mine, doesn’t); 2) your locality participates.
Avoid sales tax by looking for signs like this
Sometimes, you will even see promotions like this one to the left. Clearly, the store is running a promotion, but the point is the same – you can avoid sales axes when shopping if you plan correctly.
So, there you have it. You can save on sales tax with a little research timed strategically with your shopping needs.