With many families slashing budgets to cope with inflation and rising costs, the annual school supply haul has the potential to be a bit lighter for many across the Greater Cincinnati area this year.
Thankfully, Ohio's annual sales tax holiday might provide some relief for back-to-school shoppers.
This year, Ohio's annual sales tax holiday will take place from Friday, Aug. 5 at midnight through Sunday, Aug. 7 at 11:59 p.m. During that time, Ohioans will not have to pay sales tax on "[a]n item of clothing priced at $75 or less; [a]n item of school supplies priced at $20 or less and [a]n item of school instructional material priced at $20 or less," according to the Ohio Department of Taxation's website.
Ohio's sales tax holiday has been held during the first weekend of August since 2019, when Ohio lawmakers passed SB 226, creating a permanent sales tax holiday in the state.
Currently, Ohio's sales tax is 5.75%. According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, the state also allows local governments to collect an additional sales tax of up to 2.25% to be added to the state sales tax. Hamilton County's current sales tax rate is 7.8%, per the Ohio Department of Taxation.
All retail items are subject to sales tax, with a few notable exceptions, including food sold to be eaten outside the premises of an establishment (such as food purchased at a grocery store), items purchased with food stamps and gasoline for vehicles that is subject to the state motor fuel tax, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation.
So, keeping Hamilton County's sales tax rate in mind, a pair of jeans that cost $75 would actually cost $80.85 at checkout with the sales tax added to the total cost of the item. During Ohio's sales tax holiday, that additional $5.85 would not be added to the aforementioned example transaction.
There is no limit on the amount of the total purchase at checkout during Ohio's sales tax holiday. Instead, the qualification will be determined on an item-by-item basis. So, for example, you can purchase $300 worth of items, and if you have met the aforementioned qualifications, you'll get those items sans sales tax — even if all of the items in your haul do not qualify for the sales tax exemption.
Most clothing items, like shirts, pants, dresses, uniforms and shoes qualify for the sales tax holiday. However, per the Ohio Department of Taxation, there are certain items not included in the department's definition of "clothing," and will not qualify for the sales tax holiday:
- Items purchased for use in a trade or business
- Clothing accessories and other related items, such as jewelry, hair clips, sunglasses, wallets and cosmetics
- Protective equipment like face shields, masks, protective gloves and helmets
- Sewing equipment and supplies, including fabric that will eventually be used to create clothing
- Sports or recreational equipment for most sports, including mouth guards, ballet and tap shoes and spiked athletic shoes
- Patches and emblems
The following items qualify as school supplies, per the Ohio Department of Taxation: "binders; book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila); glue, paste, and paste sticks; highlighters; index cards; index card boxes; legal pads; lunch boxes; markers; notebooks; paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets."
Reference books, reference maps and globes, textbooks and workbooks all qualify as school instructional materials, and thus will not be taxed during Ohio's sales tax holiday.
Ohioans can also take advantage of the sales tax holiday online. As long as you place the order between midnight on Aug. 5 and 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 7, are shipping to an Ohio address and the retailer accepts that order in that timeframe, you will not be charged sales tax on qualifying items.
Though Kentucky does not currently have an annual sales tax holiday in place, Kentuckians can still purchase qualifying items without sales tax during the holiday, as long as they are purchasing the items in Ohio.