Make good use of this weekend’s sales tax exemption | News, Sports, Jobs

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Rising costs are forcing many families to prioritize and cut regular expenses just so they can afford their children the items they need to get back to school.

Indeed, in this kind of inflationary climate, every small gesture counts. Some of that help, in the form of tax relief, is being offered to Ohio shoppers this weekend. Ohio shoppers can take advantage of the state sales tax exemption beginning at midnight Friday and ending at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

This is a good opportunity for those who are doing their back to school shopping to save some money, which as we all know is more important than ever these days.

Experts say consumers are expected to match last year’s record back-to-school spending and surpass back-to-school spending in 2021, according to data from the National Retail Federation.

The federation predicts that households will spend an average of $864 on back-to-school products this year. They spent an average of $841 per household last year and $789 in the pandemic year of 2020.

Back-to-college spending is expected to reach nearly $74 billion, up from $71 billion and the most in survey history.

While these numbers are heavy, unfortunately they probably won’t be as much bang for their buck, largely due to inflation.

The annual state sales tax exemption means consumers can save between 6.5 and 8 percent on sales tax on certain items. These savings can be spent on buying more clothes, shoes, supplies, and other back-to-school necessities.

Retailers in Ohio also benefit from the tax exemption, as they could see the benefits of cross-border business, with people in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan reaping the benefits.

Ohio’s first sales tax holiday was in 2015. It was reauthorized every year until 2018 when it became permanent. Local sales tax rates are 6.75% in Trumbull and Ashtabula counties, 7.5% in Mahoning County, and 7.25% in Columbiana County.

So here’s what you need to know about this year’s tax exemption.

On apparel under $75 per item and school supplies/educational materials under $20 per item, all Buckeye State retailers will eliminate sales tax. But there are exceptions, so it is important to be careful.

These exceptions include items purchased for use in a trade or business; clothing accessories or equipment; protective equipment; sewing equipment and supplies; sports or recreational equipment; belt loops sold separately; costume masks sold separately; and patches or emblems sold separately.

The Ohio Department of Taxation has a complete list of frequently asked questions on its website, tax.ohio.gov, in the Help Center.

Make sure you understand the ins and outs of the sales tax exemption before you get a surprise at checkout. But once you do, take advantage of this chance to keep some more of your hard-earned cash. Those who help children prepare for the school year will have to do the shopping anyway; at least we can do it without the government collecting its share.

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