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Mississippi’s back-to-school sales tax holiday now one of the earliest in the nation

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

  • Magnolia State residents can enjoy tax-free shopping next weekend as they prepare to return to classes.

Mississippi’s back-to-school sales tax holiday has moved up two weeks this year as many schools across the Magnolia State start classes even earlier.

The 2024 sales tax holiday takes place between 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 12th and midnight on Sunday, July 14th, making it one of the earliest tax-free holidays in the nation.

Lawmakers passed a measure during the 2024 session that shifts the annual sales tax holiday to the second weekend in July while also extending the holiday to include Sunday.

“Schools are starting school earlier. Not only that, some are going to that modified calendar so we want to be ahead of the game,” State Senator Walter Michel (R) said in April.

READ MORE: Back-to-school sales tax holiday in Mississippi moved to second weekend in July

Though both traditional and modified school calendars have 180 days of academic instruction as required by state law, a modified calendar shortens the summer break and pushes up the start of school by approximately two weeks while extending the end of the school year by roughly one week. The earlier start and later finish allow for additional breaks during the school year.

Local school districts adopt their own calendars each year. Entering the 2023-2024 school year, 30 districts had adopted a modified calendar, up from 12 the prior year.

For example this year: Students in the Gulfport School District will return to classes on July 19th on the modified calendar while Jackson Public Schools, still on the traditional calendar, return on August 7th.

As more school districts across the state adopt the modified calendar, the sales tax holiday as was observed had little to no benefit for parents purchasing clothes and supplies. Some shoppers were going across the state line to get deals prior to the start of the school year. Now, with the earlier dates, state leaders hope to keep those dollars local and in Mississippi.

During the sales tax holiday weekend, sales tax is not collected on the sale of articles of clothing, footwear, or school supplies across Mississippi if the sales price of a single item is less than $100.00, regardless of how many items are sold at the same time. Items priced at $100.00 or more are subject to sales tax at the regular retail rate of 7 percent.

As the Mississippi Department of Revenue notes, sales of eligible items less than the $100.00 threshold that were placed or ordered by mail, telephone, or the internet are not subject to sales tax if the purchaser orders and pays for the items during the sales tax holiday.

A list of eligible and non-eligible items along with further clarification on sales tax holiday can be found here.

Not every state observes a sales tax holiday for back-to-school shopping. Less than half of the U.S. states provide the tax-free days each year.

Neighboring Alabama has their sales tax holiday set for the third weekend in July (July 19-21) while Louisiana does not participate in the annual tax relief effort. Tennessee observes the sales tax holiday on July 26-28 this year with Arkansas following on the first weekend in August. Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday runs for two weeks, beginning on July 29th and running through August 11th.

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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