Save money July 20-22 on school supplies during Alabama’s back-to-school sales tax holiday

Bham Now Sales Tax
Bham Now Sales Tax
Michelle Black, a nurse at Moody Jr. High and High School and Leah Gilbert, an 8th grader at Odenville Middle School shopping for school supplies at Target in Fultondale. Photos by Kara Kennedy for Bham Now

For some parents it’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, but the beginning of a new school year! And with just two weeks until the school bell rings, Alabama is once again giving parents and teachers a break from paying sales tax on back-to-school items.

Shop ’til You Drop!
Photo courtesy of the Alabama Retail Association

In its 13 year, Alabama Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday began at 12:01 am today (July 20) and lasts until 12 midnight Sunday, July 22. Up until last year, the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday always was on the first weekend in Aug., however, in 2017, the Alabama legislature amended the law and changed the holiday to the third weekend in July.

Bham Now Sales Tax
Bridgett a school teacher taking a break from shopping with Allison and Briella at Target in Fultondale.

Most stores, according to the Alabama Retail Association, will have extended hours to accommodate all shoppers who want to take advantage of the 2018 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday.
Alabama is one of 15 states in the country to offer sales tax relief on back-to-school supplies, clothes and computers, and shoppers can expect to save at least four percent on those items. Other savings also may be included if your city and county participate in the sales tax holiday.

Bham Now Slaes Tax
A shopper viewing school supplies at Target in Fultondale.

In the city limits of Birmingham, shoppers will save state and city sales taxes during this weekend. However, shoppers need to keep in mind that Jefferson County, where the city of Birmingham is located, will only see a one percent savings out of the county’s two percent county sales tax.

The Jefferson County cities of Fairfield, Brighton and Midfield are not waiving their city sales tax this weekend. You will need to check this link for a full list of the Jefferson County cities waiving taxes as well as for surrounding counties who are participating in the sales tax holiday.

Bham Now Sales Tax
School lists at Target in Fultondale.
Items Shoppers will save on

Although the tax-free list is lengthy, not all back-to-school items are tax free. So shoppers need to pay attention to what they are putting in their shopping carts. FYI: the Kleenex, wipes and paper towels on those school lists are not tax-free.

ITEMS on the list

Clothing $100 or Less

  • Belts
  • Boots
  • Caps
  • Coats
  • Diapers
  • Dresses
  • Gloves
  • Gym suits
  • Hats
  • Hosiery
  • Jackets
  • Jeans
  • Neckties
  • Pajamas
  • Raincoats
  • Robes
  • Sandals
  • Scarves
  • School uniforms
  • Shirts
  • Shorts
  • Socks
  • Sneakers
  • Underwear

However, handbags, belt buckles, handkerchiefs and cosmetics are not on the list and are not tax-free. Get the list here.

Bham Now Sales Tax
School supplies at Target Fultondale.
School supplies, books and computers

Computers $750 and less, school supplies $50 and books $30 or less for noncommercial purchases also are tax free.

Bham Now Sales Tax
Computers less than $750 are tax-free this weekend.

PYMTS.com estimates that consumers will spend $82.8 billion this year shopping for back-to-school items. That’s more than consumers spent for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and Valentine’s Day combined and it will give retailers a third-quarter boost before the fourth quarter holiday season kick in.

Bham Now Sales Tax
Clothes less than $100 are tax-free this weekend.
Stores are ready!

Bham Now visited Target in Fultondale yesterday to see if they were ready for shoppers this weekend, and they were all set with colorful displays and fully-stocked shelves of school supplies, new clothes and computers. Several shoppers also were already eyeing items they would be back to buy today. Like Target, most stores have school shopping lists readily available for shoppers.

“We look forward to helping taking the stress away from families as they get ready to send their kids back to school,” said Meagan Studyvin, Manager, Target Fultondale. “We have all the essentials, from new school supplies, to new computers to trendy clothes parents and teachers need to go back to school prepared and in style!”

Who’s ready to shop for back to school?