Alabama's Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Moved, Finally!

Brad Garland, CPA

June 13, 2017

I still remember the first summer after turning 16. The thrill of freedom experienced by being able to drive on my own was tinged by the responsibility of vehicle ownership. Insurance, gas, and maintenance were both time consuming and costly. Not watching the fuel gauge means you're walking to the nearest gas station; not keeping the wheels aligned means a bumpy ride and shorter tire lifespan. When that summer came to a close and school resumed, I had learned a life lesson about car ownership.

Alignment of your schedule is also necessary in the summer, and the state of Alabama learned that particular life lesson with the timing of its Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. Set for the first weekend in August for many years, it allowed parents and students to reap some savings by shopping free of sales tax on clothing, computers, supplies, and more. But many school systems in Alabama moved their start dates to the first week in August, meaning the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday frequently fell after the start of school. This led to decreased interest and utilization of the weekend by shoppers.

Back To School!! [Explore #55]

The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday in Alabama is July 21-23, 2017

Thankfully, this spring, Senator Tim Melson proposed moving up the holiday to third full weekend in July. For 2017, that means July 21-23. Parents, circle your calendars! The average shopper saves $50 in sales taxes, plus many stores have special deals to further entice spending.

What items qualify for exemption from local and state sales taxes (see participating localities) from Friday to Sunday? The full list can be found on Alabama's website, but here are the highlights:

  • Clothing ($100 or less per item) – includes shirts, pants, coats, shoes, shorts, socks, underwear,


  • Computers, software & accessories ($750 or less per item) – includes computers, printers, tablets

  • Supplies ($50 or less per item) – includes binders, backpacks, calculators, crayons, folders, lunch boxes,

    notebooks, paper, pencils, pens, scissors, maps/globes, textbooks

  • Books ($30 or less per item) – includes all bound books

Perhaps with the realignment of dates for the holiday weekend, parents and students can once again enjoy saving on their back-to-school shopping. This summer, students can hopefully learn some important life lessons, and parents can hopefully save some dough with the realigned sales tax holiday.


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