Learn how to spot and avoid impostors at our free, two-part webinar Feb. 18 and 20. Register today!
by Brett Widness, August 3, 2010
Back-to-school shoppers can catch a break on sales tax by planning wisely before hitting stores. At least 18 states are offering a sales tax holiday on a variety of goods in the hopes of encouraging consumers to open their wallets.
In many states, sales tax holidays get under way sometime between late July and Labor Day. Typical merchandise covered by sales tax holidays includes clothes and school supplies. However, the tax break is sometimes extended to other products such as personal computers.
While a sales tax holiday is nice, it's not an excuse to wear out your credit cards. Here are a few tips from the California Society of CPAs on how to keep costs under control during your back-to-school shopping spree.
• Take an inventory. If you already have plenty of pencils, pens and note cards, you probably don't need a fresh pack.
• Set a budget and stick to it. More expensive items usually won't get the tax break, so that should help curb the temptation to splurge.
• Talk to kids about peer pressure. Take the opportunity to break the cycle of temptation and the "keep up with the Joneses" mentality.
• Contact your school for help. Programs for low-income households may be available to help with discounted or donated school supplies.
• Spread purchases through the year. Resist the temptation to spend big before school starts, when you may have to come back and buy more clothes and supplies in just a few weeks.
• Give children an allowance. Encourage kids to track their spending and understand making smart choices.
If your state isn't showing up on the map above, it's worth checking with your state or local tax authority to find out whether a sales tax holiday is in the works for another time. Some states, including Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon, don't have sales tax.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Get tips and resources to protect yourself from fraud and see the latest scam alerts in your state.
Members save 15% all day, every day at participating locations.
Exclusive program for members from The Hartford.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at