Congrats, fellow Tennesseans, we topped yet another list! We, um, now have the highest sales tax rate in the country.
So, not the most fun of superlatives, and a “win” that certainly needs some context — a recent Tax Foundation report helpfully points out that “Tennessee has high sales taxes but no wage income tax, whereas Oregon has no sales tax but high income taxes.”
Nevertheless, this is a good reminder to make pointed use of Tennessee’s annual Sales Tax Holiday, which is coming up at the end of July.
Mark your calendar for 2018 Sales Tax Holiday weekend
Every year, Tennessee presses pause on sales tax collection for a select mix of goods — clothing, school/art supplies and computers — for one weekend, ahead of the first day of school.
In 2018: The Sales Tax Holiday is set to kick off at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 27, and to wrap up at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 29.
You’ll have just that one window to get in your maximum savings, until next year’s holiday.
What you can buy, what you’ll pay tax on
Since we work in real estate and we’re relatively obsessed with home design, personally and professionally, we sure wish we were getting a break on things like furniture and decor. That, sadly, isn’t really the point of the Sales Tax Holiday — more, we’re getting a little relief on the tools and materials we’d need to pursue our education over the coming school year.
We dug into whether you can get tricky with the categories — house paint and brushes are kind of technically art supplies, right? Sadly, they’re on to us: The roundup of what falls into the exempt categories is quite specific, and doesn’t include the home-renovation stuff we’d love to sneak into our carts.
The kinds of things you can buy, sans-sales tax, look more like this: backpacks and binders, paper and pencils, jackets and jeans (if under $100 apiece), laptops and desktops (if $1500 or less).
Here’s a full alphabetical list of items that are included in Tennessee’s Sales Tax Holiday, so you can plan your weekend accordingly.
A few things that might surprise you on that list: Nashville brides and grooms on a budget are in luck here, since wedding gowns and tuxedos are on the list (with the $100 or less rule); and Nashville moms and dads whose kids who aren’t yet school-aged get a little relief, too, since baby clothes, diapers and the like are also included.
How the savings can add up
Ostensibly, this has little to do with what we do as Nashville Realtors, but we tend to think of the Sales Tax Holiday as an excellent opportunity to save some cash for, say, future home renovations or a down payment on a new home.
When you add it up, with Nashville’s 9.25 percent combined sales tax rate, you could really tuck away a good couple of bucks over the Sales Tax Holiday — on that $1500 laptop alone, you’re saving nearly $140. A few years of piggy-banking like that, and you’re well on your way to renovating that powder room.
A little related inspiration: If you lean towards vintage when you’re clothes shopping, here are some of the Nashville vintage shops we love, many of which stock clothes for kids too.