State sales tax holidays for 2009 start now!

Each year, some U.S. states hold tax holidays -- short periods where state sales taxed are waived on selected items. Most often, these items are school-related, and the tax holiday is timed for school-shopping season. For example, Missourians can spend up to $3,500 on computers on August 7-9 and pay no sales tax on the purchase, a potential savings of almost $148.

Other states use the tax holidays to entice residents to trade in their appliances for more efficient energy star models, or prepare for natural disasters such as hurricanes. Louisiana has the least restrictive holiday, waiving taxes on all non-business personal items up to $2,500 on August 7-8. The most unusual holiday? South Carolina's, which celebrates the start of winter hunting season with a two-day tax waiver on rifles, shotguns, and shotguns.

This year, many states are struggling to meet their budgets, and some have debated ending tax holidays. Washington, D.C. canceled its planned August tax holiday just a few weeks ago. We'll update our chart as quickly as possible in such an event, so check back before heading to the mall. Good hunting!

Thanks to the Federation of Tax Administrators
Each state makes its own decision about what does or does not qualify for this program, so if in doubt check your state's tax web site for clarification. As an example, here is part of North Carolina's list:

Clothing covered by the North Carolina tax holiday includes -

a. aprons, household and shop;
b. athletic supporters;
c. baby receiving blankets;
d. bandannas;
e. bathing suits and caps; beach capes and coats;
f. belts and suspenders;
g. boots; overshoes;
h. coats, jackets, capes, and wraps;
i. costumes (does not include costume masks sold separately);
j. diapers (children and adults, including disposables);
k. earmuffs; gloves and mittens for general use; hats and caps; hosiery; scarves;
l. formal wear (rentals are not eligible);
m. garters and garter belts; girdles; leotards and tights; panty hose; socks; stockings and footlets; underwear;
n. insoles for shoes;
o. jogging suits;
p. lab coats;
q. neckties;
r. rainwear; rubber pants;
s. sandals; shoes and shoelaces; slippers; sneakers; steel-toed shoes;
t. uniforms (athletic and nonathletic when purchased for non-business use); and
u. wedding apparel (does not include rentals).

Items NOT included -

a. briefcases;
b. cosmetics;
c. fabric, thread, yarn, and other such items purchased to make clothing;
d. hair notions, including barrettes, hair bows, hairnets, and similar items;
e. handbags;
f. handkerchiefs;
g. jewelry;
h. sunglasses (nonprescription);
i. umbrellas;
j. wallets;
k. watches; and
l. wigs and hairpieces.

In these days when every penny counts, how can you pass up a chance to beat the state sales tax? Time to stock up!
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