The Skinny on Sales Tax Holidays

A little while ago, we mentioned that the National Retail Federation (NRF) proposed tax holidays as a strategy to stimulate the economy and get folks back into stores. And even though Congress didn’t listen to this advice when it crafted the stimulus bill, Kansas may be getting some soon. So, we figured we’d let you in on what a tax holiday could mean for your state – after all, now’s about the time your local lawmakers might consider them.

Essentially, the NRF “called for states to eliminate sales tax for 10-day periods in March, July and October to help stimulate consumers to purchase more goods. The government would reimburse states for the lost revenue.” The predicted amount of money each American family would save? $175. May not pay the mortgage, but just about everyone’s counting their pennies these days. Well, the federal government hasn’t come to our rescue with sales tax-free weekends (yet), but that doesn’t mean your state government is going to leave you out in the cold.

According to the, 13 states have sales tax holidays slotted for 2009, including Washington DC and Texas. And it’s not crazy to “expect more as the year progresses.” Our tip? Don’t buy more stuff on a sales tax holiday – buy the same amount of stuff you’d normally buy. Otherwise, you’re not really saving, are you? (The irony is the whole purpose of sales tax holidays, from the government’s POV, is to get you spending more. Woops.)

Do you live in a state with a sales tax holiday? If so, will it influence your shopping habits?

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  1. says


    I totally agree with you. When we have them hear in NYC, the stores are packed..but those were in years when the economy was better. I wonder if this is too little too late. It would have been great if they had did it during the holiday season

  2. specialspark says

    Hey Katherine

    I live in Missouri, and we’ve had the sales tax holiday for over 5 years now.  It’s usually in August right before school starts and is great.  I don’t know anyone that doesn’t go, and we usually save a LOT more than $175!  I know a lot of people who buy their computers, software, back to school clothes, work clothes (for us adults who aren’t going to school).  Now, not every city in the state has it but those that do are slammed the entire weekend.  Unless you go to Walmart early, you can’t get in and if you do you’re in line forever.

    So yes, it does influence my shopping habits.  I’ll only go to those areas that are participating.  Since you know long before time when it is, most of us save up several hundred bucks to use that weekend and have already picked out “targets”.

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