By: South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Administrator of Future Scholar College Savings Plan
Date: August 28, 2017
As summer memories begin to fade and the excitement builds for the start of fall sports, the inevitable is approaching: back to school season. Whether your child is entering Kindergarten or college, shopping for school supplies is likely on your to-do list as you prepare your children for the upcoming school year. Though often a tiresome venture that can make a dent in your time and wallet, school supplies shopping can be enhanced by taking advantage of sales tax holidays offered by many states.
While tax-free holidays vary from state to state, they commonly exempt sales tax from items including computers, clothing, school supplies and other necessities for your child’s perfect back to school journey—making these holidays the perfect time to do your shopping and save money!
These savings holidays usually take place over the course of a Friday to Sunday throughout the month of August. However, a few occur in the later weeks of July. In order to ensure that you save the most this back to school season, click here to see if/when your state offers a sales tax holiday, as well as the items your state will offer sales tax-free. For example, from August 4-6, my home state of South Carolina exempts a variety of approved school supply items—from clothing and shoes to book bags and computers—from the 6% state sales tax and any applicable local taxes.
Sales tax holidays are undoubtedly the smartest time to plan your back to school shopping because of the savings they’ll offer you. In fact, in years past, South Carolina shoppers have saved between a total of $2 million and $3 million during the holiday weekend—that’s some serious savings.
While you’re busy saving money on back to school clothing and supplies, I encourage you to consider investing what you save in another worthy cause: your child’s 529 college savings plan. Any amount, big or small, will help ensure their bright future.
About the author:
Curtis Loftis is the State Treasurer of South Carolina. He also serves as the administrator of South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 college savings program, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Visit treasurer.sc.gov or futurescholar.com for more information on ways to save through a 529 plan.