TurboTax shows you how the upcoming sales tax holiday can boost your back-to-school savings

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The article below is up to date based on the latest tax laws. It is accurate for your 2019 taxes (filed in 2020) and 2018 taxes, which should be filed by the April 15th, 2019 (or October 2019 with filed extension) deadline.

Back-to-school season is just around the corner! Depending on where you live, your state may be offering huge savings with a sales tax holiday shopping weekend on specific purchases. With most state sales tax ranging from about 4 – 10%, that means more money in your pocket.

Dates vary, but this year many states are going sales-tax-free the first full weekend in August (scroll down for dates in your specific state). If you have several kids going to school this year, you can boost your savings by picking up paper, pens, calculators, and backpacks in one trip. And you can get even better deals on the bigger ticket items, namely laptops and tablets.

Getting the Bigger Bang for Your Buck with Laptops

You don’t want to buy a laptop because it was on sale, only to see it slow or break down in a year. While specs change year to year, here are some guidelines to help you purchase technology that will last.

  • If your kid needs a computer they can easily take notes with, but not to run highly specialized programs, you may want to get a tablet instead. There are some wonderful bundles that give you a tablet (with warranty) and a case at a great bargain. They can use the tablet while at school and then do the heavy lifting on the home computer.
  • For those who need more processing power, but still want the portability of a tablet, a hybrid like the Microsoft Surface or Lenovo Yoga may be just the right ticket for you.
  • College students, and many high school students, likely require a laptop to keep up with their coursework. New processors come out frequently, but right now you can get incredible performance with some older models. Those who are using programs like Adobe Photoshop and Unity (to design video games) will want to make sure that their computer has plenty of memory – at least 8GB RAM.
  • You’ll also want to check out reviews and make sure you get a laptop with a reputation for good battery life (at least 9 hours).

I hope this helps you prepare your shopping list and figure out how you can save in advance. Be sure to check with your state tax administrator for specifics regarding your sales tax holiday. What supplies do you need to pick up this upcoming school year?

Upcoming State Sales Tax Holiday Dates

Alabama: July 19-21

Arkansas: August 3-4

Connecticut: August 18-24

Florida: August 2-6

Iowa: August 2-3

Maryland: August 11-17

Mississippi: July 26-27

Missouri: August 2-4

New Mexico: August 2-4

Ohio: August 2-4

Oklahoma: August 2-4

South Carolina: August 2-4

Tennessee: July 26-28

Texas: August 9-11

Virginia: August 2-4

NO SALES TAX HOLIDAY: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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