Tax Holiday Will Put Shoppers in the Spending Mood

MONTGOMERY – The back-to-school buying season, which has become the second busiest shopping time of the year behind the winter holiday season, will boost sales in Alabama. One weekend shoppers are certain to fill Alabama stores is the first weekend in August when many of their purchases can be made tax free.

Tax HolidayFrom 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, to midnight, Sunday, Aug. 4, the state’s four-percent sales tax is waived throughout the state while sales taxes levied by 274 cities and counties also will be waived on:

  • clothing priced at $100 or less;
  • school supplies valued at $50 or less;
  • books that cost $30 or less; and
  • computers and computer equipment with a selling price of $750 or less.

Consumer spending will increase in August, and Alabama’s sales tax holiday will give back-to-school shopping in our state the jump start it needs,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown. The National Retail Federation estimates that total spending on back-to-school will reach $72.5 billion this year. Alabama sales generally represent 1.5 percent of all retail sales nationally. If the national prediction is accurate, $1.08 billion will be spent to equip and outfit students in our state this year. The Alabama Retail Association predicts taxed sales in August will grow about 1 percent over 2012 August sales, which means consumers will spend about $4.16 billion in Alabama next month. That is all sales, all month, not just on back-to-school.

Alabama’s sales tax holiday is for everybody, not just those going back to school; it is everywhere: the state’s four percent sales tax is waived throughout the state; and most retailers carry one or more of the items covered. Find out all you need to know about Alabama’s sales tax holiday at

A record 281 cities and counties will add their sales tax savings to the covered purchases bringing the total savings for Alabama consumers during the upcoming three-day sales tax holiday to as much as 10 percent.

Currently, 17 states have back-to-school sales tax holidays, with all but Mississippi holding their tax holidays in August. Twelve states will have tax holidays on the same weekend as Alabama, including Florida and Tennessee. Georgia’s tax holiday is the weekend after Alabama’s.

>> Comparison of Alabama’s sales tax holiday with other states’ holidays

Alabama’s sales tax holiday means savings for more than just back-to-school shoppers. Those interested in filling out their wardrobes and stocking their libraries and home offices also can benefit from buying during the tax-free weekend. Such electronics as computers, laptops, e-readers and tablets valued at $750 or less along with computer software commonly used by students, flash drives, blank compact discs and printers are tax free during the sales tax holiday. While the holiday is aimed at the back-to-school shopper, it is open to everyone. (School supplies are tax free to the noncommercial user.)

However, not everything is tax free on the holiday weekend. A detailed listing of what is and isn’t taxed can be found on the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website or by going to The Alabama Revenue Department’s Quick Reference Sheet lists what is taxed and what is not during the holiday weekend. It is a handy reference for consumers as well as a resource for retailers to put next to the cash register and provide to clerks.

Alabama’s sales tax holiday has grown in popularity each year. In fact, during six out of the seven years, statewide sales tax collections for the month of August actually increased over the year previous. The average increase on August taxed sales in Alabama since the sales tax holiday was created in 2006 is 2.2 percent. Even businesses that do not sell the tax-free items can see a jump in sales as customers get in and stay in the shopping mood all weekend. “Stimulating sales is what this weekend is all about,” said Brown. “As it has in the past, we expect the sales tax holiday to boost retail sales and spur purchases in other segments beyond the tax-free items.”

2013 Sales Tax Holiday Facts

The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Our 4,000 independent merchant and national company members sell food, clothing, furniture and other general merchandise at more than 6,000 locations throughout Alabama. Alabama Retail promotes what is best for the retailing industry in Alabama and has been doing so since 1943. From legislation to education, through communication and member services, Alabama Retail members benefit from the value of membership in their association. Retail works!


Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 | 800.239.5423