Ohio tax holiday starts Friday

Michael Johnson - michaeljohnson@civitasmedia.com

GALLIPOLIS — Parents with school-age children will soon be hitting up local stores in search of bargains.

Specifically, they’ll be purchasing new clothes and supplies their children will need for the beginning of another school year, which in Gallia County is slated for Aug. 20.

And just as many children dread the return of school and homework, many parents equally dread it from a financial perspective.

This weekend, Ohio plans to give those moms and dads a bit of a financial break by offering what’s called a sales tax holiday. It begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

That’s this weekend, folks.

The tax holiday is a one-time event, thanks to Senate Bill 243 that Gov. John Kasich signed into law last December, but many lawmakers hope to make it a reoccurring tradition. Ohio joins 18 other states that offer a similar temporary tax break for its residents.

“The cost of back-to-school shopping will be reduced thanks to the relief of sales tax from Aug. 7 through Aug. 9,” said state Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell. “The upcoming Sales Tax Holiday will keep more money in the pockets of Ohio’s families and will strengthen Ohio’s retailers.”

During the holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax: clothing priced at $75 per item or less; school supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and school instructional materials priced at $20 per item or less. Price restrictions on items are solely for individual items. The qualification of the exemption is determined item by item and there are no restrictions on final prices.

The tax holiday does acknowledge retailer coupons and loyalty cards. The final price charged by the store is what is looked at for qualification of the sales tax.

However, if a retailer accepts a coupon that entitles the retailer to third-party reimbursement, such as a manufacturer’s coupon, the discount provided by the coupon does not reduce the item’s sales price for purposes of determining whether the item is eligible for the exemption. This same principal is used on rebated items.

Qualifying items placed on or picked up from layaway during the sales tax holiday are exempt from sales tax.

The clothing items vary and include many options, not just shoes and general clothing. Some of the more obscure things mentioned on the list that might not be thought of include athletic supporters, lab coats, bathing suits and caps, costumes, diapers, rubber pants, garter belts, formal wear and wedding apparel.

The only items not included in the sales tax holiday include accessories, items used in a trade or business, protective wear, sewing materials, and very few limited items. An entire list can be found online at the Ohio.gov website.

All vendors are required to abide by the rules laid out in the bill, as it is law. No establishment may choose to not participate in the tax free holiday. According to the National Retail Federation, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics.

The tax holiday could be saving the average family nearly $50.

Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.

Michael Johnson