Sales tax holidays are designated periods when selected products are exempt from state (and sometimes local) sales taxes. The state of North Carolina repealed its tax-free weekend event which Governor Pat McCrory signed into legislation in 2013 that also reduced corporate and personal income taxes. As a result, the state held no tax-free events during 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The move was unpopular with businesses and shoppers, and a bill calling for its return was introduced in April 2016, but it did not pass.
This means that there will be no sales tax-free shopping in the state at any time in the foreseeable future.
As a result, some shopping centers in North Carolina cities began hosting a weekend of additional savings during the first week of August to draw shoppers to their stores. Contact your area shopping centers to see if they plan similar events for August 2018.
Visit a Neighboring State
If you live in North Carolina and wish to take advantage of a sales tax holiday near you, try shopping in one of these five nearby states. They all have tax-exempt weekends scheduled for 2018.
- Alabama will hold a severe weather tax free holiday on Feb. 23 – 25, 2018. Items like batteries and flashlights will not have sales tax to encourage people to have emergency preparedness items.
- Florida usually holds its back to school tax-free holiday in early August. Shoppers should look for clothing and shoes under $60 dollars and school supplies up to $15 dollars. Most books are also included in this sale.
- South Carolina residents can typically find computers and computer equipment included in their back to school tax-free weekend. Along with the usual clothes and shoes, parents can also pick up new bedsheets for the kids as well.
- Tennessee usually holds its tax-free weekend in July. During that time, clothing and school supplies that cost under $100 dollars have no sales tax. Computers costing under $1,500 are also included in the event.
History of Sales Tax Holidays
New York was the first state to hold a sales tax holiday in 1997 in an attempt to limit "border" shopping, where New York residents traveled to nearby states to shop to take advantage of those states' sales tax rates, which were much lower than New York's rates. New York has since abandoned the tax-free holiday.
In 2017, 17 states have sales tax holidays planned. In most cases, they are timed to coincide with back-to-school shopping, with many clothing and footwear products exempt from sales tax for a weekend or week. Some states include savings on energy efficient appliances and severe weather preparedness supplies in their tax-free weekends.
States that have withdrawn from tax holidays and states that have not participated claim the sales tax holidays do not promote economic growth or increase consumer purchases, they just shift the timing of the purchases while putting a financial strain on the state's income. Although tax holidays are popular with businesses, politicians, and shoppers, statistics argue they do little to help the low-income shoppers who need the tax relief the most.