Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday (and a Few Other Little-Known Sales Tax Holidays)

October 22, 2010

Virginia celebrated an Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday last weekend. Residents of Virginia will enjoy not having to pay sales taxes on a variety of different products from dishwashers to compact forficate light blubs.

The Tax Foundation has already highlighted the numerous problems with such schemes. The best way to give shoppers a sales tax break is to apply a low rate to a broad base, not to enact a sales tax holiday. Taking an alternative approach–if you can’t beat them, join them–Virginia has three sales tax holidays: 1) Back to school, 2) Energy Star and 3) Hurricane Preparedness.
Presumably Virginia finds these activities of special importance, worthy of being singled out for tax breaks. But aren’t there a number of other activities that might also deserve special treatment? Here are a few suggestions. (We give bonus points if the activity comes shortly before an election, as Back to School and Energy Star already do.)

1) Little American Flag Sales Tax Holiday (2 weeks before Veteran’s Day)

2) Leaf Removal Supplies Sales Tax Holiday (last weekend in September)

3) Halloween Candy Sales Tax Holiday (last weekend in October)

4) High School Graduation Sales Tax Holiday (tax-free balloons, helium tanks and mini teddy bears)

5) NFL Sales Tax Holiday (no sales taxes on potato chips and soda sold on Sunday)

6) Mother’s Day Sales Tax Holiday (tax-free greeting cards, flowers and no meals taxes on brunch)

7) Adopted Pet Supplies Sales Tax Holiday (all year–cuteness knows no season)

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