Twenty U.S. states and the District of Columbia are reported to have a sales tax-free weekend on their annual calendars, with many of those locations planning their tax-free holidays to coincide with the back to school shopping that plagues many students and families during the month of August. These tax blackout dates can have different limitations as they vary state by state, but for the most part, consumers can benefit financially if they plan their electronics purchases right.
“It varies from state to state, but typically the items covered under the sales tax holiday will include any type of clothing like shirts, pants, shoes, socks, etc. Any school supplies like pens, pencils, paper, notebooks and the like, will be tax-free. The bigger items like high-end computers, tablets, and educational electronics are also often categorized as school supplies and therefore, tax free,” says Matthew Camp, State of Alabama, Department of Industrial Relations Field Deputy.
One of the items that has been reported to fall under the umbrella of tax-free electronics are e-readers of all makes and models, a wise move since a larger-than-ever expected number of students will be returning to school in the fall with digital reading capabilities, especially at the college level. With more and more companies like Inkling supporting digital textbooks and platforms such as the recently profiled TurnIt allowing teachers and professors the ability to publish only the pertinent licensed material in one digital file, the devices themselves are finding their ways on to school supply lists worldwide.
Many financially savvy reading consumers are hopeful that the savings they retain on the sales-tax holiday will provide a little bit of content for their devices. With the average sales tax percentage that a U.S. customer pays reaching 9.64% in 2010 according to a finding published by Vertex, Inc., and considering that residents in some areas of the country pay an astounding 13.73%, the savings over the holiday on a device that ranges in price from $134 for an e-reader to over $500 for a tablet can more than cover a few ebooks. Over the course of the tax-free weekend, consumers can still take advantage of various promotions from the top e-reading retailers, such as Barnes and Noble’s 30 ebook gift card with the upgrade to any Nook device or Amazon’s Kindle with Special Offers ad-capable device.