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Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday
Retailers share tips for consumers’ Back-to-School shopping

Are you ready for Tennessee’s upcoming Sales Tax Holiday?

State and local retailers are sharing tips to help shoppers take advantage of this annual opportunity without getting frustrated.

The first, and possibly most important, tip is knowing what is eligible and when it’s eligible. This year's tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 5, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 7. Eligible items haven’t changed from previous years: clothing, school and art supplies with a price of $100 or less per item and computers with a price of $1,500 or less.

Clothing includes items such as belts, shoes, uniforms, socks, hats and gloves (but not purses, jewelry or briefcases). The list of eligible school and art supplies includes traditional items such as notebooks, crayons, backpacks and chalk–but not supplies for tech-savvy students such as compact disks, storage devices and printer ink. According to the state’s website, a computer is defined as a central processing unit and its various components. The holiday does not cover individual components such as monitors, printers, keyboards or speakers unless they are purchased with a CPU. Laptops and tablet computers, including the iPad, are eligible.

Shoppers should note that items normally sold together, such as shoes, may not be split up to meet the price requirement. None of these items are tax-free if they are purchased by a trade or business. However, items do not have to be purchased for use by a student. If mom needs new clothes, all her items are tax-free, also.

Before heading out of the house, Tracey Hitson, store manager of JCPenney’s Turkey Creek location, recommends shoppers have a strategy.

“First of all, have a game-plan. What do you need? What sizes? Before you even walk into the store, know what you’re looking for,” she said.

Having a school supply list is essential. Target in Turkey Creek has gathered lists from many West Knoxville schools, and Bobby Cox, store team leader, said the lists are available now.

“We collected all the supply lists from all the schools, and we have a section [in the store] with all the lists,” he added.

To avoid the crowds associated with the holiday, many retailers suggested shopping as early as possible.

“The earlier the better; there’s no doubt about that,” Cox said. “Before 11 a.m. is usually not as busy as after

11 a.m.”

Hitson added, “Most stores have extended their opening hours [during the holiday weekend]. I would come early or come late, when we’re generally not as busy as the peak of the day. [Shoppers] can get their sizes, their selection, and it’s not as hectic trying to park, trying to get in, trying to get out.”

Michael Foster, manager of Life According to Jake, which participates in Farragut Business Alliance, suggested shopping for apparel and supplies first and computers second.

“Typically, the first day seems to be all about electronics, and then after that [shoppers] come towards the clothing. So if they want to avoid [the crowd], they can do it the other way around,” he added.

A little creativity can help, too. Shoppers don’t have to buy their items at a traditional brick-and-mortar store. All eligible items should be tax-free whether they are purchased in a store, over the telephone or online, as long as it’s from a Tennessee retailer.

For example, if a customer needs a specific uniform color, or any other item available through JCPenney, they can order it on the store’s website, “and still receive the sale price, and plus they will also be honored with the tax free [discount],” Hitson said.

For more information about the Sales Tax Holiday, including a detailed list of eligible and ineligible items, visit


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