By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The first sales tax holiday was held in New York back in 1997.
Years later, the last Friday in July in the state of Tennessee became the traditional Tax-Free Weekend to assist with back to school shopping. Fast forward to the year 2020 and in the middle of a global pandemic, the Tennessee General Assembly approved a second tax-free holiday for restaurant sales.
This year’s original sales tax holiday is scheduled for July 31 to Aug. 2. The state’s annual sales tax holiday happens every year at midnight on the last Friday in July and ends at 11:59 p.m. the following Sunday night. Items like clothing, school supplies and electronics can be purchased tax-free during this period. The eligible items include clothing and school supplies up to $200 or less. Computers and televisions $3,000 or less are exempt from sales tax.
The second tax-free holiday is now set for Aug. 7-9. Retail food and drink sales by restaurants and limited-service restaurants are exempt during this period. The second tax-free holiday weekend focuses on restaurant sales beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 7 and ends Sunday, Aug. 9 at 11:59 p.m.
During this time, the retail sale of food and drink by restaurants and limited service restaurants, as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 57-4-102, is exempt from sales tax.
Below is the breakdown of the first tax-free weekend starting July 31.
General apparel that costs $200 or less per item, such as shirts, pants, socks, shoes, dresses, etc.
Apparel items priced at more than $200
Items sold together, such as shoes, cannot be split up to stay beneath the $200 maximum
Items such as jewelry, handbags, or sports and recreational equipment
School and art supplies with a purchase price of $200 or less per item, such as binders, books, backpacks, crayons, paper, pens, pencils, and rulers, and art supplies such as glazes, clay, paints, drawing pads, and artist paintbrushes
School and art supplies individually priced at more than $200
Items that are normally sold together cannot be split up to stay beneath the $200 maximum
Computers & Other Electronics
Computers for personal use with a purchase price of $3,000 or less
Tablets, smart phones and electronic readers with a purchase price of $3,000 or less
Televisions and video game consoles with a purchase price of $3,000 or less
Storage media, like flash drives and compact discs
Individually purchased software
For more information, visit https://www.tn.gov/revenue/taxes/sales-and-use-tax/sales-tax-holiday.html