We Don’t Talk About School (in July), but We May Want to Remember Ohio’s Tax Holiday in August

It’s time to think about school shopping. While teachers, students, and maybe a few parents (myself included) will want to curse anyone for mentioning the S word in mid-July, the start of the new school year will be here before we know it. One sign of the inevitable is the return of Ohio’s Tax Holiday weekend. We may not be ready for school to start, but a little planning can at least save us a little cash.

Tax Holiday Basics

According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, “Ohio will have a sales tax holiday from Friday, August 5, 2022 at 12:00 a.m. to Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.   

During the holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax:

  • An item of clothing priced at $75 or less;   
  • An item of school supplies priced at $20 or less; 
  • and   An item of school instructional material priced at $20 or less.   

Items used in a trade or business are not exempt under the sales tax holiday.  

Know the Details

Spectrum News 1 reports that there’s no limit on how much can be spent in one transaction as long as the individual items don’t exceed the established dollar figure of $75 per clothing item and $20 per school supplies and teaching materials. 

A family or individual shopper can purchase multiple items of “general use” clothing totaling $500 without paying tax, as long as each item costs less than $75.  

Eligible items purchased by mail, telephone or online are also tax exempt as long as they are ordered and paid for, and the seller accepts the order, during the tax-holiday weekend hours.

Items not exempt during the sales-tax holiday include:

  • Clothing and gear used in a trade or business, such as goggles, hard hats and safety belts.
  • Equipment used in sports, like spiked shoes, ballet shoes, hand, elbow and shin guards, ski boots, wetsuits and fins.
  • Accessories such as barrettes, jewelry, sunglasses, wallets, watches and handbags.

No Changes this Year

A proposal to extend the tax holiday from one weekend to two weeks was vetoed by Governor Dewine earlier this month. He seems to agree with a bipartisan group of opponents of extended tax holidays who believe the costs of lost revenue far outweigh the benefits of a tax holiday. 

Policy Matters Ohio states, “Sales tax holidays are a bad idea. Both the Tax Foundation, a leading conservative voice on tax issues, and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a progressive think tank headed by Policy Matters Ohio’s founding executive director, pan such holidays…Ohio’s upside-down tax system definitely needs an overhaul. But an untargeted, short-term break on the sales tax isn’t the way to do it. The conference committee should scrap the sales tax holiday and divert the $1 billion to more productive uses.”

While policy makers disagree on the long-term benefits of tax holidays, parents shopping for school supplies and clothing may find that this August’s tax holiday can save them just a bit a cash in the short term. So while we may not want to think about school starting just yet, Ohio parents will want to mark Friday, August 5, 2022 at 12:00 a.m. to Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. on their calendars.  


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