Retailers, shoppers gear up for sales tax holiday

VANDALIA — With the start of school right around the corner, shoppers will have an extra incentive to shop for back-to-school items and clothing this coming weekend.

Ohio’s third sales tax holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 4, and ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6. The sales tax holiday applies to both in-store purchases and online purchases.

The tax holiday applies to all items of clothing priced $75 or less, school instructional materials priced at $20 or less, and school supplies priced at $20 or less.

There is no limit to the number of individual items that may be purchased.

Last year’s sales tax holiday proved to be very popular with shoppers.

“It’s a great thing for consumers and retailers,” said Lora Miller, director of government affairs and public relations for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. “We believe the analysis shows Ohio didn’t lose any tax revenue as a result. Consumers win, businesses win, and the state is not losing money.”“The sales tax holiday became a mini-Black Friday in many communities, as consumer groups and school organizations across Ohio drove their members to the malls and stores to save money.”

The Ohio Department of Taxation says that taxpayers saved $3.3 million on nearly $47 million in sales in 2016. The event also generated an additional $4.7 million in tax revenues for Ohio from purchases of items that were not eligible for the discount as well as buying from out-of-state visitors.

Ohio is one of only 17 states offering a sales tax holiday for back-to-school shoppers, and just like last year, none of our neighboring states is offering anything similar.

Under the guidelines posted on the Ohio Department of Taxation’s website, definition of clothing is “all human wearing apparel suitable for general use.” It includes shirts, shoes, pants, shorts, sweaters, shoes and shoe laces, including athletic footwear – all subject to the $75 per item limitation.

Any item costing more than $75 will be taxed normally.

Items not included in the definition of clothing are accessories and equipment such as briefcases, handbags, handkercheifs, wallets, and watches.

“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 on the list are taxable. Each item is also subject to the $20 limit per item.

“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.

Items ordered online are also covered under the exemption provided they are purchased during the tax holiday period.

For more detailed information on the sales tax holiday, visit

By Darrell Wacker

[email protected]

Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind.