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Alabama’s ‘Back to School’ Sales Tax Holiday is This Weekend, and Here’s Your Guide to What’s Covered and What’s Not


Alabama is hosting its ninth annual sales tax holiday this weekend. Before you start shopping, check our guide to the 2014 ‘Back to School’ Tax Free Weekend–we’ll let you know what items are covered and what items aren’t!

This year’s ‘Back to School’ Tax Free weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 1, 2014 and ends at 12 midnight Sunday, August 3, 2014. This weekend gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, and clothing free of the state sales tax. Some local city taxes may apply, but not in Tuscaloosa–you can click HERE for a list of all the cities participating in the Tax Holiday.

So what items can you buy tax-free this weekend? Let’s break it down by category.


CLOTHING: $100 or less, per article of clothing; tax-free items include all human wearing apparel suitable for general use.

What’s Covered

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

What’s NOT covered (you still pay tax on these items)

  • Clothing Acessories (belts, cosmetics, hair ties, purses, etc.)
  • Protective Equipment (breathing masks, safety glasses, hard hats, etc.)
  • Sport or Recreational Equipment (dance shoes, cleats, mouth guards, etc.)

COMPUTERS: For purposes of the exemption, a “computer” may include a laptop, desktop, or tower computer system which consists of a central processing unit (CPU), and devices such as a display monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers sold as a computer package. Computer parts and devices NOT sold as a part of a package with the CPU WILL NOT qualify for the exemption.

What’s Covered

  • Computer Softwear
  • Computer Storage Media: compact disks, USB flash drives
  • Handheld Electronic Schedulers (except cell phones)
  • Computer Printers
  • Printer Supplies (paper, ink)

What’s NOT Covered

  • Video Games of a Non-Educational Nature
  • Any Systems, Devices, Softwear or Accessories Designed for Recreational Use
  • Furniture (computer desks, chairs, etc.)

SCHOOL SUPPLIES, SCHOOL ART SUPPLIES, AND SCHOOL INSTRUCTONAL MATERIAL: Sales price of $50 or less, per item for non-commercial purchases

What’s Covered

  • Binders
  • Blackboard Chalk
  • Book Bags
  • Calculators
  • Cellophane Tape
  • Clay and Glazes (Art Supplies)
  • Compasses
  • Composition Books
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, manila)
  • Glue, Paste, Glue Sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Index Cards
  • Index Card Boxes
  • Legal Pads
  • Lunch Boxes
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Paints (Art Supplies: Acrylic, Tempora, Oil)
  • Paintbrushes (Art Supplies)
  • Paper (looseleaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, construction paper)
  • Pencil Boxes and Other School Supply Boxes
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • Pencils
  • Protractors
  • Reference Maps and Globes
  • Required Textbooks (must be on an official school book list with a sales price of MORE THAN $30 and LESS THAN $50)
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Sketch and Drawing Pads
  • Watercolors
  • Writing Tables

BOOKS: Sales price of $30 or less per book for non commercial purposes. The term “book” refers to a set of printed sheets bound together and published in a volume with an ISBN number.

What’s NOT covered

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

Click Here for Alabama's Official Tax Holiday List

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