Some shoppers began making tax-free purchases today as the fourth year of a holiday kicked off that helps Ohio families save on back-to-school costs.
Some area students begin going back to classrooms Monday, and the tax-free holiday this weekend is intended to help families save on back-to-school needs. The sales event started today and will last through Sunday night.
Based on past years, shoppers may see larger than average crowds during the weekend. Mike Burkhart, store director at the Moraine Meijer, said the store sees about three times the normal traffic during the tax-free holiday.
As the event has grown in importance to families there are some key facts to know:
1. Only some items qualify for the tax holiday.
This weekend shoppers don’t have to pay taxes on clothing costing less than $75 per item and school supplies and instructional material costing less than $20 per item.
This includes shirts, pants, dresses, uniforms, shoes, underwear, socks, coats, gloves, hats, belts, neckties, scarves, aprons, lab coats, and bathing suits.
But some items that don’t qualify as clothing are hair accessories, non-prescription sunglasses, watches and jewelry.
If customers purchase an item of clothing over $75 or school supplies over $20, customers will pay taxes on the whole purchase price.
2. All Ohio stores are required to participate. Online stores are included.
Customers can shop through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, both in store and online. As long as an order is placed and paid for during the sales tax holiday time frame, no taxes will be charged even if the items ship later.
But if shopping in a different time zone, use caution. The time zone of the seller determines the sale period, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation.
Shoppers looking to use pickup methods from popular back-to-school stores like Meijer, Target and Walmart must order and pickup the items during the sales tax-free weekend, said Ashley Phillips, a store manager at the Walmart on Kingsridge Drive.
3. Friday morning and afternoon are the best times to shop.
Friday morning is the best time to shop to beat the crowds, said managers at local Walmart, Target and Meijer stores.
“I’ve been in retail for 14 years now, and early in the morning on tax-free weekend that Friday is the best time to come in because you still get that selection but you don’t get the crowd,” said Raheem Muhammad-Terrell, an executive team leader at the Target store on North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek.
The next best time is to shop early in the morning Saturday or Sunday when the shelves will be freshly stocked from third shift, Phillips said.
4. More than just back-to-school shoppers can benefit from the sales
Teachers and parents of school-aged children won’t be the only shoppers to take advantage of tax exemptions during this weekend’s holiday.
New moms, soon-to-be brides and bargain hunters, among many others, can also get deals. Diapers and baby receiving blankets are included in the clothing that qualifies to be tax-free during the weekend.
For brides, hosiery, garters, formal wear and wedding apparel are also included in the clothing list, so soon-to-brides looking to purchase those items that cost less than $75 can do so tax-free Friday through Sunday.
5. The holiday is permanent now
This is the first year for the tax-free holiday since Gov. John Kasich signed the bill into permanent law, rather than a pilot phase.
Now shoppers will see the tax free weekend every year.
“We have data from the last two years that shows there is a large spike during the weekend,” Ohio Rep. Niraj Antani-R, Miami Twp. said. “We would like to create a Black Friday-like event during August.”
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