What You Can And Can't Buy Sales Tax-Free This Weekend

Students around the Tristate are heading back to school (some are already back in session) and Ohio retailers are hoping this weekend's sales tax holiday will have Black Friday-style results.

Ohio is now one of 16 states to offer a sales tax holiday.

A study from the University of Cincinnati showed Ohio shoppers would save $78 million during a three day sales tax free weekend. Gordon Gough with the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants said retailers are counting on the holiday being a celebration not just for customers. “What our members see is an uptick in retail sales that consumers will come in and buy things that are part of the holiday, and sometimes that are exempt from the holiday,” said Gough.

The sales tax holiday, which applies to online and brick-and-mortar stores, starts at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 7 and runs through midnight Sunday, August 9.

There will be no sales tax on clothing purchases up to $75, and on school supplies and instructional materials purchases up to $20

What's Included And What Isn't

The Ohio Department of Taxation spells out how the sales tax holiday works in a Frequently Asked Questions post on its website. All information below is from that site.

Clothing Included:

“Clothing” is defined as all human wearing apparel suitable for general use. “Clothing” includes, but is not limited to, shirts; blouses; sweaters; pants; shorts; skirts; dresses; uniforms (athletic and nonathletic); shoes and shoe laces; insoles for shoes; sneakers; sandals; boots; overshoes; slippers; steel-toed shoes; underwear; socks and stockings; hosiery; pantyhose; footlets; coats and jackets; rainwear; gloves and mittens for general use; hats and caps; ear muffs; belts and suspenders; neckties; scarves; aprons (household and shop); lab coats; athletic supporters; bathing suits and caps; beach capes and coats; costumes; baby receiving blankets; diapers, children and adult, including disposable diapers; rubber pants; garters and garter belts; girdles; formal wear; and wedding apparel.

Clothing NOT included:

  • Clothing accessories or equipment.  Clothing accessories or equipment include: briefcases; cosmetics; hair notions, including, but not limited to, barrettes, hair bows, and hair nets; handbags; handkerchiefs; jewelry; sun glasses (non-prescription); umbrellas; wallets; watches; and wigs and hair pieces.
  • Protective equipment.  Protective equipment includes: breathing masks; clean room apparel and equipment; ear and hearing protectors; face shields; hard hats; helmets; paint or dust respirators; protective gloves; safety glasses and goggles; safety belts; tool belts; and welders gloves and masks.
  • Sewing equipment and supplies
  • Sports or recreational equipment.  Sport or recreational equipment includes ballet and tap shoes; cleated or spiked athletic shoes; gloves, including, but not limited to, baseball, bowling, boxing, hockey, and golf; goggles; hand and elbow guards; life preservers and vests; mouth guards; roller and ice skates; shin guards; shoulder pads; ski boots; waders; and wetsuits and fins.
  • Belt buckles sold separately.
  • Costume masks sold separately.
  • Patches and emblems sold separately.

School Supplies:

“School supplies” include only the following items: binders; book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila); glue, paste, and paste sticks; highlighters; index cards; index card boxes; legal pads; lunch boxes; markers; notebooks; paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners;  pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets.

Items not included in this list are taxable. “School supplies” does not include any item purchased for use in a trade or business.

Instructional Materials:

“School instructional material” includes only the following items: reference books, reference maps and globes, textbooks, and workbooks.

Items not included in this list are taxable.  “School instructional material” does not include any material purchased for use in a trade or business.

Coupons:

If a retailer offers a discount to reduce the price of an eligible item to $20 (applies to school supplies) or less or $75 (applies to clothing) or less, the item will qualify for the exemption. This applies to all discounts even if a retailer’s coupon or loyalty card is required to secure the discount. If a retailer accepts a coupon that entitles the retailer to third-party reimbursement, such as a manufacturer’s coupon, the discount provided by the coupon does not reduce the item’s sales price for purposes of determining whether the item is eligible for the exemption.

But What About...?

Here's a link to the Ohio Department of Taxation's full listing of what counts, what doesn't, rebates, rain checks, online purchases, and much more.