CHICAGO, IL – Attention back-to-school shoppers! Illinois’ Sales Tax Holiday takes place August 5 -14.

During the ten day period Illinois will reduce the state sales tax on school supplies by 5%. Shoppers will only pay 1.25% plus the local sales tax. It’s all in an effort to provide some relief to families as record-high inflation bites many budgets.

(Image: Illinois Department of Revenue)

It’s important to note, not all “back-to-school” items qualify for the reduce sales tax and there are caveats when it comes to clothing and footwear too.

What schools supplies are included in the sales tax holiday

The state defines school supplies as “items used by a student in a course of study.” The items recognized by the state as “school supplies” include:

BindersBook bagsCalculatorsCellophane tapeBlackboard chalkCompassesComposition booksCrayonsErasersExpandable pocketPlastic, and manila foldersGlue, paste, and paste sticksHighlightersIndex cardsIndex card boxesLegal padsLunch boxesMarkersNotebooks and notebook paper (including loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper)Pencils and pencil leadsPens, ink and ink refills for pensPencil boxes and other school supply boxesPencil sharpenersProtractorsRulersScissorsWriting tablets

What is not included in the sales tax holiday

The state says the reduced tax rate cannot be applied to the purchase of supplies that would be used by people other than students such as school art supplies, school instructional materials and school computer supplies. Items listed under those categories include:

“School Art Supply”:

Clay and glazesAcrylicTempera, and oil paintPaintbrushes for artworkSketch and drawing padsWatercolors

“School Instructional Material”:

Reference booksReference maps and globesTextbooksWorkbooks

“School Computer Supply”:

Flash drives and other computer data storage devicesData storage media (such as diskettes and compact disks)Boxes and cases for disk storageExternal ports or drivesComputer casesComputer cablesComputer printersPrinter cartridges, toner, Ink

What clothing and footwear is included in the sales tax holiday

Only qualifying clothing and footwear with a retail selling price of less than $125 can get the discounted tax.

The below items are considered “clothing” by the state:

Household and shop apronsAthletic supportersBathing suits and capsBelts and suspendersBootsCoats and jacketsEarmuffsFootletsGloves and mittensHats and capsHosieryInsoles for shoesLab coatsNecktiesOvershoesPantyhoseRainwearRubber pantsSandalsScarvesShoes and shoelacesSlippersSneakersSocks and stockingsSteel-toed shoesUnderwearSchool uniform

What clothing and footwear is *NOT* included in the sales tax holiday

“Clothing” does not include sport or recreational equipment, protective equipment or clothing accessories. The state has the following items listed under those categories:

“Sport or Recreational Equipment“:

Ballet and tap shoesCleated or spiked athletic shoesGloves, including, but not limited to, baseball, bowling, boxing, hockey, and golf glovesGogglesHand and elbow guardsLife preservers and vestsMouth guardsRoller and ice skatesShin guardsShoulder padsSki bootsWadersWetsuits and fins

“Protective Equipment”:

Breathing masksClean room apparel and equipmentEar and hearing protectorsFace shieldsHard hatsHelmetsPaint or dust respiratorsProtective glovesSafety glasses and gogglesSafety beltsTool beltsWelder’s gloves and masks

“Clothing Accessories”:

BriefcasesCosmeticsHair notions, including, but not limited to barrettes, hair bows, and hair netsHandbagsHandkerchiefsJewelryNon-prescription sunglassesUmbrellasWalletsWatchesWigs and hair pieces

Important things to remember

Let’s say you have a mix of qualifying and non-qualifying items in your purchase. The state says the reduced sales tax can be applied to your total purchase, but only if the value of the qualifying items exceeds the value of the non-qualifying items. Each qualifying clothing item must still adhere to the $125 or less limit too.

Also, any qualifying items purchased with a rain check issued prior to the sales tax holiday can receive the reduced sales tax, however rain checks issued during the sales tax holiday are reportedly not eligible because they would be purchased after the holiday ended.

You can go to the Illinois Department of Revenue for more information.

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