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Mississippi’s Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Moves Up Two Weeks



Tax Free Weekend write on the calculator on Office Desk.

Mississippi’s back-to-school sales tax holiday is now two weeks earlier this year, aligning with the earlier start of many schools. The 2024 sales tax holiday will take place from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 12th, to midnight on Sunday, July 14th, making it one of the earliest tax-free holidays in the nation.

Legislative Changes and New Calendar Alignments

Lawmakers passed a measure during the 2024 session to shift the annual sales tax holiday to the second weekend in July and extend it to include Sunday. “Schools are starting earlier. Not only that, some are adopting a modified calendar, so we want to be ahead of the game,” explained State Senator Walter Michel (R).

Both traditional and modified school calendars have 180 days of academic instruction as required by state law. The modified calendar shortens the summer break. Schools are starting approximately two weeks earlier and extending the school year by roughly one week. This adjustment allows for additional breaks during the school year.

Adoption of Modified Calendars and Local Impact

Entering the 2023-2024 school year, 30 districts had adopted a modified calendar, up from 12 the previous year. For example, students in the Gulfport School District will return to classes on July 19th, while Jackson Public Schools, still on the traditional calendar, will return on August 7th.

As more school districts adopt the modified calendar, the traditional sales tax holiday timing had less benefit for parents purchasing clothes and supplies. Some shoppers were crossing state lines to find deals before the school year began. Now, with the earlier dates, state leaders hope to keep those dollars local.

Tax Holiday, under $100

During the sales tax holiday weekend, sales tax will not be collected on articles of clothing, footwear, or school supplies if the sales price of a single item is less than $100. Items priced at $100 or more will still be subject to the regular 7 percent sales tax. The Mississippi Department of Revenue notes that sales of eligible items under $100, ordered by mail, telephone, or internet, are also tax-free if the purchase is made during the sales tax holiday.

For further clarification and a list of eligible and non-eligible items, visit the Mississippi Department of Revenue website. Less than half of U.S. states provide tax-free days each year. Neighboring Alabama has its sales tax holiday from July 19-21, while Tennessee observes it on July 26-28. Arkansas follows on the first weekend in August. Finally, Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday runs from July 29th to August 11th.

This article originally appeared in the Magnolia Tribune. It is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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