The 2017 Alabama Sales Tax Holiday Weekend is right around the corner, and this enacted pursuant provides the perfect opportunity to save plenty of cash during Back-To-School shopping.

This event has become one of the busiest retail shopping weekends in the state before the winter holiday season starts. But before you start making a list and checking it twice, you need to understand what products are free of state (and possibly local) sales tax so you can best take advantage of the savings. This year, the “tax-free weekend” arrives earlier than it has in the past.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 21, Alabama will give shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers and clothing free of state sales tax. “Tax-free weekend,” as it has been called, ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday night (July 23).

The items are generally divided into four major categories.
• Clothing
• Computers, Computer Software, & School Computer Supplies
• School Supplies, School Art Supplies & School Instructional Material
• Books

Clothing

You can save plenty of cash while prepping your closet for this Fall’s latest fashions during “tax-free weekend.” Clothing is defined as all human apparel suitable for general use, and cost $100 or less per article. This means you can rack up on school uniform polos and khaki pants for the kids, and use the savings to grab your favorite jeans, blouses, and woven shirts.

Even popular footwear falls under this exemption. Boots, sandals and athletic sneakers are exempt as long as they are less than $100. You can also find tax-exempt fashionable accessories, such as belts, caps, gloves, hats, neckties and scarves.

However, accessories such as briefcases, handbags, and wallets are not exempt. All local and state taxes may apply to these items. Jewelry, watches, sun glasses, and eye glasses are taxable as well.

Cosmetic items are taxable. Hair notions (barrettes, hair bows, etc.), wigs, and hair extensions will still be taxed along with all makeup and beauty products.

Protective equipment commonly used in the workplace is taxable, and sports and/or recreational equipment is taxable as well.

Computers, Computer Software, & School Computer Supplies

Alabama’s Sales Tax Holiday is a great opportunity to make a computer purchase if you’ve been holding back. A single purchase with a sale price of $750 or less will be tax exempt. If you shop smartly, the net savings you will receive by not paying tax on big-ticket items, like a computer, rivals the big winter holiday sales coming later this year. As always, look around for a competitive price and only purchase a new computer if you need it.

With today’s forever-evolving technology, it’s getting harder and harder to tell what is considered a computer. During Alabama’s tax-free weekend, a computer is defined as a laptop, desktop, or tower computer system which consists of a central processing unit (CPU), and devices such as a display monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers sold as a computer package. Computer parts and devices not sold as part of a package with the CPU, will not qualify for the exemption.

School computer supplies are defined as items commonly used by a student in a course of study in which a computer is used. This includes items any tech-savvy person needs for school, office or personal use. Computer storage media devices, like USB flash drives and compact discs are tax-free. Computer printers and printer supplies are tax-exempt as well. Take advantage of the chance to save and stock up on more expensive items, like printer ink and large media storage devices.

Handheld electronic schedulers and personal digital assistants that are not cellular phones are tax-free. However, devices/systems and software primarily designed for recreational use will be taxable.

School Supplies, School Art Supplies & School Instructional Material

This is where you can make a big impact in your savings total. Alabama’s tax-free weekend gives parents and students the opportunity to get more bang for your buck. Individual items priced at $50 or less are tax-exempt. Since these items are typically necessities for the school year, you might as well save as much as you can.

Paper products like pocket folders, binders, composition books, manila folders, index cards, legal pads, notebooks, and writing tablets are tax exempt. Writing utensils and tools like blackboard chalk, crayons, highlighters, markers, pencils and pens are tax-free as well. You can also save on calculators, compasses, glue, paste, protractors, and scissors this weekend.

Are you an artist? Do you enjoy sculpting? Do you sketch in your free time? Do you have a young, aspiring painter at home? If so, you know how much art supplies and tools can cost. Take advantage of the opportunity to save lots of money by purchasing all the clay, glazes, paints, brushes, sketch pads and watercolors you'll need all year during tax-free weekend. Just store it away and use it later.

You can also purchase tax-free reference maps and globes, as well as, required textbooks on an official school book list (with a sales price of more than $30 and less than $50).

Books

For the purposes of tax-free weekend, Alabama defines a book as a set of printed sheets bound together and published in a volume with an ISBN number. The item must also have a sales price of $30 or less.

Newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and any other documents printed or offered for sale in a non-bound form are taxable.

Shop Smartly

If you plan accordingly and use the information above to shop smartly, Alabama’s Sales Tax Holiday can easily mean hundreds of dollars in savings for you and your family. To learn more about Alabama's 2017 Sales Tax Holiday, click here. You can also view this quick reference sheet of tax-exempt items to better plan your shopping goals.

Be sure to maintain your budget during your spending and use your MAX Mobile Banking App to track your MAX checking account while you’re shopping on the go! And use your MAX VISA® debit card to make your purchases! With Smart Plus, you earn cash-back every time you swipe, dip, tap, or spend online.* Your loyalty is rewarded with every purchase. Each month, we'll determine which cash-back category you qualify for and calculate your earnings based on use of your debit card. At the end of the month, we'll deposit the cash you've earned right into your checking account. There's no need to register online or stop by a branch to start seeing the benefits. Any use of your MAX VISA® debit card can earn you extra cash back with Smart Plus. This means use of mobile wallets (like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Android Pay) count!

*Certain restrictions apply.