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Leslie Bonacum
Neil Allen

Tax Holidays Help Cut Back-To-School Expenses, CCH Says

(RIVERWOODS, ILL., JULY 23, 2003) – Consumers in nine states can take advantage of back-to-school tax holidays to purchase items such as clothing, school supplies and computers without paying sales tax, according to CCH INCORPORATED (CCH), a leading provider of tax information and software (

"An August tax holiday has become a fixture in some states’ tax systems, but the idea has not yet caught on nationwide", according to Ken Traisman, J.D., state tax analyst for CCH. "In fact, while some states are adding tax holidays, others are dropping them."

Arguments in favor of the holidays include relief for families of modest means facing back-to-school expenses and stimulating retail sales. Opponents of the tax-free periods question the extent of the benefit for typical families and characterize the holidays as "gimmicks."

  • Although the District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania have offered tax holidays in the past, back-to-school purchases receive no special treatment in these jurisdictions this year.
  • Vermont offers a holiday for the first time this year, for computer purchases.
  • The Missouri legislature recently enacted a sales and use tax holiday for certain school-related items, but it will only be available in 2004.
  • New York has set aside its permanent sales tax exemption for clothing and footwear under $110 until May 1, 2004 and has replaced it with a one-week holiday at the end of August, with another one-week holiday scheduled for the end of January next year.

Where and When to Save

Attention shoppers! The following states have sales tax holidays in place for August 2003.


Holiday Dates

Items Covered


Aug. 17 – 23

Most items of clothing and footwear costing less than $300. (Items of clothing and footwear costing less than $75 are exempt year-round.)


July 31 – Aug. 3

Clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item and school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less per item. Also, first $1,500 of the sales price of a single purchase of a personal computer and personal computer-related accessories.


Aug. 1 – 2

Certain articles of clothing or footwear that have a selling price of less than $100.

New York

Aug. 26 – Sept. 1

Clothing and footwear items under $110.

North Carolina

Aug. 1 – 3

Clothing, footwear, and school supplies costing $100 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment costing $50 or less per item; computers, printers, printer supplies and educational software costing $3,500 or less per item.

South Carolina

Aug. 1 – 3

Clothing, school supplies, computers and printers.


Aug. 1 – 3

Most clothing and footwear with a selling price of less than $100.


Aug. 9 – 11

New or used single-processor desktops, laptops or notebook computers selling for $4,000 or less. (Clothing and footwear with a selling price of $110 or less and not primarily for athletic use is exempt year-round.)

West Virginia

Aug. 1 – 3

Purchases under $100 per item for certain clothing, clothing accessories, computer accessories and school supplies; purchases of computers under $750.

In addition to the states noted above, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have at least a limited year-round sales tax exemption for clothing.


CCH INCORPORATED, headquartered in Riverwoods, Ill., was founded in 1913 and has served four generations of business professionals and their clients. CCH is a Wolters Kluwer company. The CCH Federal and State Tax group is at