Support the news
The Massachusetts sales tax holiday begins at 12 a.m. Saturday, making this a good weekend for back-to-school shopping or buying a new TV before the start of football season.
There are some limits on the savings, however:
- The aforementioned TV — or any product, for that matter — is only tax-free if it costs $2,500 or less. So, if you're planning to spend $70,000 to watch Tom Brady in 98 inches of dazzling, 8K glory, you'll pay the state's regular, 6.25% sales tax.
- Marijuana is legal now, but sorry, you'll still pay taxes on cannabis products. Tobacco and alcohol also remain taxable.
- Gassing up for a late-summer getaway? Go ahead, but the fuel will be taxed as usual.
- Motor vehicles, including boats, are not included in the holiday.
- The sales tax still applies to prepared meals.
Despite constraints, Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said businesses welcome the two-day holiday.
"It's not a 365-day sales tax cut, but it is an important, annual, summer incentive for consumers to spend locally," he said.
It hasn't always been annual, but a law passed last year makes the holiday an August fixture, going forward.
Some notable things that are tax-free this weekend:
- Massachusetts recently began to demand sales tax payments from online retailers, following a Supreme Court decision in a case involving Boston-based Wayfair. This weekend, however, online purchases are once again tax-free.
- Most clothes are untaxed anyway, but shoppers normally do have to pay taxes on items that cost more than $175. Not this weekend. So, it's a good time to buy a suit, a wedding dress or a pair of Air Jordans.
- It's also a good time to take your car to the mechanic for that tune-up you've been putting off. A mechanic's labor is always tax-free; parts usually are not, so the holiday is an opportunity to save.
Support the news