Ohio tax-free weekend starts Friday: What you need to know

Parents needing to buy school supplies can take advantage of Ohio’s sales tax-free holiday weekend, which is planned for this weekend, Friday through Sunday, to help support those in need.
Parents needing to buy school supplies can take advantage of Ohio’s sales tax-free holiday weekend, which is planned for this weekend, Friday through Sunday, to help support those in need.

Back-to-school shoppers looking to save a few bucks can head out this weekend to avoid paying state taxes on school items.

Ohio’s tax-free weekend begins at 12 a.m. Friday and runs through Sunday, offering some relief to parents and college students buying hundreds to thousands of dollars in gear in preparation to head back to school.

A shopper in Montgomery County, where the sales tax is 7.5 percent, will save $7.50 per $100 of qualifying tax-free items. If Montgomery County families spend the average $700 on qualifying back-to-school needs, they could save $52.50.

“The average family plans to spend $700 on K-12 items and nearly $1,000 on back-to-college supplies, both being record highs,” said Alex Boehnke, with the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

Clothing items less than $75, school supplies less than $20 and school instructional materials $20 or less will be tax-exempt Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

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Several items are notably absent from the above list. The exemptions do not apply to clothing accessories, including briefcases, handbags, cosmetics, handkerchiefs, watches, sunglasses or jewelry. Protective equipment and sporting equipment are also not included.

Back-to-school shoppers won’t be the only ones to take advantage of the discounts this weekend, though, Boehnke said. Stores will entice shoppers with other deals, not just on school supplies and clothing, but for general items that will convince them to pick up more while in stores in a highly competitive retail environment.

“The tax-free weekend isn’t just for parents and teachers anymore. I think that shoppers are more savvy than ever,” said Meijer spokesman Joe Hirschmugl. “If anyone’s looking to stretch their wallets out and get more for their spending, this tax-free weekend is perfect for it.”

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Customers who want to beat the crowds can order online and pick up in store and still get tax-free items if an order is picked up during the tax-free dates.