Tax-free weekend explained: Your guide to back-to-school shopping

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Woman Buys School Supplies For 700 Students

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

With Ohio’s tax-free weekend arriving in two weeks, teachers, parents and students are getting their back-to-school shopping lists ready.

Ohio’s tax-free weekend, which begins at 12 a.m. on Aug. 3 and lasts through 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 5, is one way shoppers will take advantage of back-to-school shopping, which is expected to be one of the three highest years on record with $82.8 billion in sales.

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Tax-free weekend will be the first and last time some shoppers will hit stores with classes starting as early as Aug. 6 at some area schools.

During the holiday, shoppers don’t have to pay taxes on clothing costing less than $75 per item. School supplies and instructional material costing less than $20 per item during the weekend will also be exempt of sales and use taxes, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation.

All Ohio stores — both physical and online — are required to participate in the sales tax holiday.

The Ohio sales-tax rate is currently 5.75 percent, meaning that for every $100 families spend on qualifying items during the tax-free weekend, they will save $5.75. There will be additional savings when subtracting city and county sales tax on top of the state tax.

Gough said retailers see anywhere between a 5 and 9 percent increase in sales during the weekend, including both the school supplies that draw parents into the store and the other items they buy while there.

“At the end of the day it’s a win for the consumer because what retailers are doing is offering even more sales,” said Gordon Gough, president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

The heavy spending season is lead by increased disposable income in the hands of many Americans, Gough said.

“If you look at retail sales throughout this year, they continue to increase,” Gough said. “The tax cuts have put more dollars into tax payers’ pockets, which add to their feeling of disposable income. Wages are going up. All of those factors contribute to an increase in sales.”