Ohio may expand back-to-school tax holiday, add tax-free appliance weekend

Area shoppers could soon avoid paying sales tax on large appliances and graphing calculators.

A new bill introduced today by state representative Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, would expand what items are included in the back-to-school shopping tax-free holiday traditionally in early August, according to a statement.

If passed, shoppers will be able to buy clothing up to $100 tax free during the tax holiday weekend. Previously, the clothing items had to be $75 or less to qualify.

School supplies and instruction materials that qualify for tax-free status that weekend will increase from $20 to $100. The $80 jump is expected to make up for the gap that has traditionally prevented technology such as graphing calculators from falling into the tax-free benefit.

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“Not only has the cost of back-to-school clothing and school supplies increased since Ohio had its first sales tax holiday in 2015, but laptops and tablets have become a necessity for students at all grade levels. Families deserve the additional financial savings that Representative Antani’s bill will provide,” said Gordon Gough, president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

A second bill introduced by Antani and Rep. Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson, would create a second three-day tax holiday each March that would exempt taxes on Energy Star-rated appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers.

“Not only will Ohioans save money at the store, they’ll enjoy years of lower energy bills. This is a win-win,” Weinstein said.

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Retailers see anywhere between a 5 and 9 percent increase in sales during the back-to-school tax-free weekend, which first began in 2015 in Ohio, Gough previously told this news organization.

Gas stations, restaurants and other businesses also see a boost in sales as more families head to stores during the tax-free weekend.

But the holiday does typically cost the government some cash. Last year’s back-to-school sales tax holiday was expected to cost the state $15.2 million in tax revenues and create a revenue loss of f$3.7 million for counties and transit authorities, according to an Ohio Legislative Service Commission analysis.

The back to school tax free weekend this year is Aug. 2-4.


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