If you haven't done your back-to-school shopping, consider starting this weekend: In a dozen states, you won't have to pay sales tax on some of your purchases.
Every year, around 17 or 18 states hold brief sales tax holidays intended to boost economic activity; a few states hold two or three holidays over the course of the year. Many of these holidays take place during the back-to-school shopping season, with the dual purposes of helping out parents and boosting the economy.
According to the Federation of Tax Administrators, a dozen states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia -- will hold their tax holidays this weekend. Some will run Friday through Sunday, some will run only Friday and Saturday, and some will run on Saturday and Sunday only.
It's important to note, the sales tax holidays only apply to certain types of purchases. In several states, the tax relief is limited to clothing, and specifically to items that cost less than $100 apiece. The real savings, though, can be found in states offering to forgive sales tax on computers.
In Tennessee, computers priced up to $1,500 will be exempt from the usual state sales tax of 7%, representing a savings of up to $105. So if you're in the market for a new laptop, this would be a great weekend to shop, regardless of whether you're buying for back-to-school or not.
While the majority of sales tax holidays are happening this weekend, a few are taking place later in the season. Georgia and Texas, for instance, are holding their tax holidays next weekend (Aug. 9), and it looks like Massachusetts will join them with a holiday that covers all goods priced at $2,500 or less.
For the full details, make sure to check out the Federation of Tax Administrators' tax holiday calendar, as well as the website for your own state's tax administration.
And even if your state isn't holding a sales tax holiday, it's still a good time to get started on your back-to-school shopping. As the deal experts from Dealnews found, laptop prices hit new lows last month, and furniture, apparel and school supplies are expected to go on sale as we move into August.
Also check out AOL Search for quick price comparisons on the products you're looking for: LaptopsTabletsJeansSneakersBack to School Essentials
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.