Mark your calendar! Ohio’s tax-free holiday is coming soon

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Parents, are you ready to send your kids back to school? Ohio’s annual tax-free weekend is coming up soon.

The holiday begins Friday, August 6, 2021, beginning at 12 a.m., and ends Sunday, August 8, at 12 a.m.

“In the retail world, the back-to-school shopping season is second only to the Christmas shopping season,” said Joe Bell, Director of Corporate Communications for the Cafaro Company, which owns the Eastwood Mall.

Many of our Valley schools will be returning in person, so malls are expecting to see more shoppers than last year.

“This year, more students are going back to the classroom full-time and so the need is going to be much greater,” Bell said.

The National Retail Federation predicts American families will spend on average $60 more than last year. Total spending per family is expected to be about $850.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand. People did do their shopping last year for back-to-school but it was somewhat constrained because a lot of people didn’t need to buy as many things,” Bell said.

Back-to-school shopping in the United States is expected to set a record for 2021 with a whopping $37 billion.

“Between the college students trying to stock up their dorm room or apartment and the little ones getting ready to go off to kindergarten for the first time,” Bell said.

But those dorm supplies, like bedding, aren’t tax-exempt.

“There are some exclusions. There is a certain price point you have to meet,” said Christina Cleary, Marketing Director for the Southern Park Mall.

According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, during the holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax:

  • An item of clothing priced at $75 or less
  • An item of school supplies priced at $20 or less
  • An item of school instructional material priced at $20 or less

Items not included are:

  • Items purchased for use in a trade or business
  • Clothing accessories or equipment, including briefcases, cosmetics, hair notions (including, but not limited to barrettes, hair bows and hair nets), handbags, handkerchiefs, jewelry, sun glasses (non-prescription), umbrellas, wallets, watches, wigs and hair pieces
  • Protective equipment, including breathing masks, clean room apparel and equipment, ear and hearing protectors, face shields, hard hats, helmets, paint or dust respirators, protective gloves, safety glasses and goggles, safety belts, tool belts, and welders’ gloves and masks
  • Sewing equipment and supplies, including, but not limited to, knitting needles, patterns, pins, scissors, sewing machines, sewing needles, tape measures and thimbles; and sewing materials that become part of “clothing” including, but not limited to, buttons, fabric, lace, thread, yarn and zippers
  • Sports or recreational equipment, including ballet and tap shoes, cleated or spiked athletic shoes, gloves (including, but not limited to baseball, bowling, boxing, hockey and golf), goggles, hand and elbow guards, life preservers and vests, mouth guards, roller and ice skates, shin guards, shoulder pads, ski boots, waders, and wetsuits and fins
  • Belt buckles sold separately
  • Costume masks sold separately
  • Patches and emblems sold separately

More information about qualifying items can be found on the Ohio Department of Taxation website.

Stores will run their own specials, but local malls are looking to sweeten the deal even more. The Southern Park Mall is having a special back-to-school bash the Saturday of tax-free weekend.

“We’ll have a little goodie bag for them filled with a little craft that they can take home as well as some school supplies from Southern Park,” Cleary said.

The goodie bags will also be stuffed with candy. They’re free but Southern Park is asking for a donation to help fund their “Stuff the Bus” campaign.

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