Since 2006, The State of Tennessee's Annual Sales Tax Holiday has been held on the first weekend in August. This year's tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 am on Friday, August 5 and ends Sunday, August 7 at 11:59 p.m. During this time, all Tennesseans can enjoy tax-free purchases on clothing with a price of $100 or less per item, school and art supplies with a price of $100 or less per item, and computers with a price of $1,500 or less.
Here is the best part; tax exemption isn’t just for students or parents of school aged children! If an item is tax exempt, anyone can purchase it tax–free. A quick review of the official State of Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday Directory reveals many exempt items not commonly thought of as “school supplies”. Interesting exemptions include diapers, baby blankets, aerobic and golf clothing, prom dresses, corsets, cowboy boots, garter belts, bridal veils, costumes and even wedding dresses (if under $100). So, if you are like me and needing a new laptop or a little wardrobe boost, you can save almost 10% in tax this weekend. Additionally, many stores will be competing to get your tax exempt money, so sales are bound to be in effect.
To sweeten the deal, and aid internet shoppers like me, tax free status isn’t necessarily limited to items purchased made in a physical store in Tennessee. According to the Sales Tax Holiday Fact Sheet, purchases of qualified items sold via mail, telephone, e-mail or Internet are also included provided that the order is made during the holiday for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period. If an item is ordered during the holiday and it is not in stock, the item remains tax-free upon delivery. In other words, backlogs and backorders outside the buyer’s control will not affect the exempt status of tax-free items.
Tennessee even included a provision for those of us who want to take advantage of the deals this weekend, but need a little time to pay for all our “school supplies”. Qualified items placed on layaway prior to this weekend are considered tax exempt if the final payment is made during the holiday. Items are also exempt if placed on layaway during the holiday and the final payment is made at a later date.
Before you rush out to find your best deal and save some taxes, here is the fine print and a few tips. No item will be considered tax exempt if it is purchased for use by a trade or business. Remember the per item totals of $100 on clothing, school supplies and art supplies. Items that are normally sold together, such as shoes, may not be split to achieve the $100 price limit. Exempt clothing does not include accessories such as jewelry or bags. While clothing associated with sports activities is tax exempt, recreational equipment like baseball gloves and golf clubs is not. The sales tax holiday start at 12:01 on Friday, so if you have your heart set on a specialty item, late night stores like Walmart or internet shopping could be your best option to get first dibs on the deal you want before it disappears.