Guns, ACs, and More: 2012 Sales Tax Holidays

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There will be at least half a dozen sales tax holidays in 2012 – not counting the dozen or so back-to-school holidays. Depending on what state you live in, you may have a chance to buy rifles, refrigerators, and radios tax-free.

At the end of every summer, some states offer a Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday so parents can buy their children tax-free school supplies and new clothes for the academic year. But these aren’t the only type of sales tax holiday.

Some states make hunting supplies tax-free during hunting seasons. Others make Energy Star-certified appliances tax-free. The coastal states of Louisiana and Virginia make emergency supplies like self-powered portable radios tax-free in May – the month before hurricane season starts.

If you live in one of the states below, you can check out its Department of Revenue website to learn exactly which purchases qualify for the sales tax exemption. (These links will take you right to that info.)

State Date Exemption For more info
Louisiana May 26 – 27 Hurricane preparedness items (batteries, coolers, shutters, generators, etc.) Website
Louisiana Sept. 7 – 9 Hunting supplies (firearms, ammunition, etc.) Website
North Carolina Nov. 2 – 4 Energy Star appliances Website
South Carolina Nov. 23 – 24 Hunting supplies See below
Texas May 26 – 28 Energy Star appliances Website
Virginia May 25 – 31 Hurricane preparedness items Website

Note: South Carolina canceled its sales tax holiday for hunting supplies – also known as “Second Amendment Weekend” – for 2011. (It’s one of several states that have canceled their sales tax holidays over the past decade, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation.) But a state representative recently added a provision to South Carolina’s budget that, if passed, would reinstate Second Amendment Weekend, which used to be held on Black Friday weekend.

Check back in late July for the dates and details of this year’s back-to-school sales tax holidays. And if you live in a hurricane-prone (or even tornado-prone) state, check out our hurricane and natural disaster preparation tips before hurricane season starts.

Karla Bowsher runs our deals page and covers consumer, retail, and health issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at [email protected].

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