Monday Map: Sales Tax Holidays in 2013

July 29, 2013

Last week, the Tax Foundation released a new study on sales tax holidays explaining how they are poor tax policy, regardless of of their political expediency. Today's Monday Map illustrates the states that still have the holidays, what their dates are, and what is included.

All maps and other graphics may be published and re-posted with credit to the Tax Foundation.

(Click on map to enlarge)

Immediately, one notices the localized grouping of states in south; because the original idea for sales tax holidays was to prevent cross border shopping, it makes sense that after Florida enacted its holidays, other states around it began competing with the Sunshine State. The variety of items included in the holidays is also interesting, including everything from clothing "accessories" (AR) to firearms (LA). It's important to note that each state has its own dates and list of items included–which generally corresponds with things like hurricane, back to school, or hunting seasons–along with unique price caps on each item (See report for more details).

North Carolina was in the news this past week after it enacted major reforms to its tax code which will remove its sales tax holidays, effective July 1, 2014. And this week, Massachusettes legislators will vote on a "bill […] that would establish the sales tax holiday for Aug. 10 and 11."

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A tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities.

Sales tax holidays are periods of time when selected goods are exempted from state (and sometimes local) sales taxes. Such holidays have become an annual event in many states, with exemptions for such targeted products as back-to-school supplies, clothing, computers, hurricane preparedness supplies, and more.