LOS ANGELES – While states around the country are scrambling to offer sales-tax holidays for their residents who shop for school or who buy energy-efficient systems, Hawaii will not join the holiday mood. A surcharge of up to one-half of one percent on excise and use taxes went into effect in the Aloha State on Jan. 1.
But more than a dozen states do provide annual sales-tax holidays, which may generate savings of a few dollars to several hundred dollars. While those holidays last just a few days a year, if you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, there's no sales tax on clothing any time.
Wouldn't it be great to live in a state with no sales tax at all? Just move to Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon.
Better yet, consider Alaska, which even pays people to live there. In October Alaska residents will receive their annual check from the state's Permanent Fund. You don't have to be an Eskimo or other native to stake a claim. All you have to do is live there for a year — and plan to stay.
Last year's check was more than $1,100 per person. Naturally, since there's no such thing as a free lunch, you can expect the IRS to tax this annual gift.
Here's a list of states with holidays coming up, the holiday dates, nontaxable items and the states Web sites when they have them.
Alabama: Aug. 3-5
Items include clothing under $100, computers under $750, school supplies under $50 and books under $30. http://www.ador.state.al.us/salestax/SalesTaxHol.htm
Connecticut: Aug. 19-25
Includes clothing and footwear costing under $300. An Energy Star holiday is also underway through Sept. 30. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are no longer subject to sales tax and home weatherization products are also now permanently tax-free. http://www.ct.gov/drs/cwp/view.asp?Q=315194&A=1436
Washington, D.C.: Aug. 4-10
For back-to-school shopping on clothes, accessories and shoes of $100 or less and on school items of $100 or less. The district also holds a second annual sales-tax moratorium for holiday shopping, this year from Nov. 23 to Dec. 2. http://otr.cfo.dc.gov/otr/cwp/view,A,1329,Q,633881,otrNav_gid,1679,otrNav,%7C33288%7C.asp
Florida: Aug. 4-13
Includes books, clothing and related items with a sales price of $50 or less, and school supplies with a sales price of $10 or less. http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/taxes/tax_holiday.html
Georgia: Aug. 2-5
No sales tax on clothing of $100 or less per item, personal computers and related accessories of $1,500 or less and school supplies that cost $20 or less per item. The state also plans a tax holiday for energy-efficient products Oct. 4-7, although details have not been announced. http://www.etax.dor.ga.gov/salestaxholiday_2006/index.shtml
Iowa: Aug. 3-7
Only applies to clothing or footwear of $100 or less. http://www.state.ia.us/tax/educate/holiday1.html
Louisiana: Aug. 3-4
The first $2,500 of tangible personal property for nonbusiness use is exempt from state sales taxes. Parishes may or may not also be exempting their sales tax.
Maryland: No sales tax holiday this year
Missouri: Aug. 3-5
Includes clothing of $100 or less, school supplies up to $50 per purchase, computer software of $350 or less per purchase, personal computers costing $3,500 or less and computer peripheral devices of $3,500 or less. http://www.dor.mo.gov/tax/business/sales/taxholiday/
New Mexico: Aug. 3-5
Includes clothing or shoes of $100 or less (although there are exceptions); desktop, laptop or notebook computers of $1,000 or less; associated monitor, speakers, printer, keyboard, microphone or mouse sold for $500 or less; and school supplies purchased by students. http://www.tax.state.nm.us/pubs/FYI-203_2007.pdf
North Carolina: Aug. 3-5
Clothing, footwear and school supplies of $100 or less; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item; computers of $3,500 or less; and computer supplies of $250 or less. http://www.dor.state.nc.us/taxes/sales/salestax_holiday.html
South Carolina: Aug. 3-7
Clothing and clothing accessories, footwear, school supplies, computers, printers, printer supplies, software, bath and bed linens.<http://www.sctax.org/NR/rdonlyres/7B2A70E1-CD67-4C02-8C16-5A7C7E837607/0/RAB025.pdf
Tennessee: Aug. 3-7
Clothing and school supplies for $100 or less, computers for $1500 or less and, new this year, school art supplies are now exempt. http://tn.gov/revenue/salestaxholiday/index.htm
Texas: Aug. 17-19
Includes most clothing, footwear and backpacks priced under $100. Through Aug. 15, Texas is also running an amnesty program that waives penalties and interest on most taxes that are filed late and paid. http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html
Virginia: Aug. 3-5
No sales tax on school supplies of $20 or less per item and clothing or footwear of $100 or less. The first weekend in October the state will also waive sales taxes on certain energy-efficient products costing $2,500 or less. http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=STHoliday
Didn't see your state? Well, chances are your legislators haven't gotten around to voting you a tax cut. Not even temporarily. You could always drop them a note and ask them to help you get your children back to school — or to help you replace everything they demolished over the summer.
Just in case your legislature does decide to cut you a break, you'll find the information here, at the Federation of Tax Administrators sales tax holiday Web site. http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales_holiday.html
Oh yes, one last note to shoppers in states with tax holidays: read your register tapes carefully before you walk out of the store. In fact, when shopping during a tax holiday, consider segregating all the items not subject to tax that day. Make sure the register recognizes that each item is tax-free — or get the cashier to make the adjustments.
Eva Rosenberg is the founder of TaxMama.com and an enrolled agent licensed to represent taxpayers before the IRS. She is the author of the new book, "Small Business Taxes Made Easy."
Copyright (c) 2007 MarketWatch, Inc.