6 things to know about Alabama’s tax-free weekend July 19-21 + Several things you didn’t know were included

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Don’t worry, everyone. I did the hard work of scoping out the Target selection for you. It’s a strenuous job, but hey– someone’s got to do it. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now. 

Looking to save on your back-to-school shopping? Here’s what you need to know before you hit the shops during tax-free weekend.  

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Most local Targets, Walmarts, and Office Depots will have school supply lists available from all surrounding public schools. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

Ahh, another summer drawing to a close. Teachers, parents, and kiddos alike are gearing up for the start of another school year– and what does that mean? Back-to-school shopping!

When I was a kid, no matter how much I was dreading the summer coming to an end, I loved school supply shopping. Something about a fresh notebook just gets me every time.

The hardest part is choosing just one! Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

Maybe you want to save some money on that 64-pack of crayons or that glitter glue, maybe your kid hit a summer growth spurt and outgrew every single article of clothing they own in the past 2 months, maybe you’re a college student desperately in need of a new laptop.

Have no fear! Tax-free weekend is (almost) here! We’ve got all you need to know right here.

1. Dates and Times

A great selection, sure– but no Lisa Frank in sight? A travesty. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

Tax-free weekend is July 19-21.

  • BEGINS: Friday, July 19 at 12:01am
  • ENDS: Sunday, July 21 at 12 midnight

That’s 72 hours of shopping time, people! Buggies (or carts, depending on where you’re from) at the ready!

2. There are four main categories of items that are exempt from taxes this weekend

I promise this article isn’t sponsored by Target. Although, Target, if you’re reading– call us. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.
  • Clothing
  • Computers, Computer Software, & School Computer Supplies
  • School Supplies, School Art Supplies & School Instructional Material
  • Books 

However, there are some exceptions to these! Keep reading to find out what’s included and what’s not.

3. Clothing – What’s Taxable and What’s Not


  • Includes “all human wearing apparel suitable for general use”
  • Think: Prettyyyy much anything you can wear (including hats, shoes, belts)
  • You may not realize: This includes diapers! So even if your little one isn’t in need of notebook paper quite yet, you can still benefit from tax-free weekend
  • Must be $100 or less per article of clothing 

Not Tax-Free

  • Clothing accessories such as cosmetics, handbags, jewelry, eye or sun glasses, wallets, watches, etc 
  • Protective equipment such as hard hats, helmets, tool or safety belts, etc
  • Sport or recreational equipment such as dance shoes, instruments, cleats and skates, shin and mouth guards, wetsuits, etc 

4. Computers – What’s Taxable and What’s Not


  • Laptop, desktop, or tower computer system
  • Computer software
  • You may not realize: This includes computer supplies like printers, printer paper/ink, and computer storage media
  • Item must be $750 or less 

Not Tax-Free

  • Devices such as a display monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers that are NOT sold in a package with a computer 
  • Furniture 
  • Any systems, devices, software, peripherals designed or intended primarily for recreational use
  • Video games of a non-educational nature

5. School Supplies – What’s Taxable and What’s Not

This is my first August ever not going back to school– and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed not to have an excuse to pick up some new notebooks and pens. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.


  • Pretty much any writing utensil and form of notebook
  • Basic calculators, scissors, rulers, protractors, folders and binders, lunch boxes, etc
  • TEACHERS: Reference maps and globes are included in this
  • You may not realize: This includes art supplies such as clays and glazes, paints, paintbrushes, sketch pads, and more

Not Tax-Free

  • Any commercial purchase 
  • Anything individual item over $50 (for example, a high-priced scientific or graphing calculator would be taxed) 
  • Textbooks that are less that $30 or more than $50 

6. Books – What’s Taxable and What’s Not

My favorite aisle in pretty much any store. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.


  • “The term book is defined as a set of printed sheets bound together and published in a volume with an ISBN number.” 
  • Non-commercial purchases 
  • Sales price must be under $30 per book 

Not Tax-Free

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals 
  • Any Other Document Printed or Offered for Sale in a Non-Bound Form

Need more info? You can check out this document from the Alabama Department of Revenue for even more details. 

Tag us on social @BhamNow with your best back-to-school deals and finds! 

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Beth Cunningham
A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.
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