Tax-free holiday on school supplies begins this week

Ohio’s tax-free weekend on back-to school supplies begins Friday, offering shoppers savings and area retail stores a chance to increase sales.

During the three-day, tax-free holiday, shoppers don’t have to pay taxes on clothing costing less than $75 per item and school supplies and instructional material costing less than $20 per item. All Ohio stores — both physical and online — are required to participate in the sales tax holiday.

“The sales tax holiday is a win-win, both for families and businesses,” said Ohio Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg. “It provides a middle class tax cut for families who are sending kids back to school. It provides a spike for retailers who might be struggling, competing with online retailers right now. And it provides a spike for them in August which is typically a slow time.”

RELATED: New doughnut shop, gym coming to Beavercreek

Melissa Gallagher, a fourth-grade teacher at Orchard Park Elementary School, said she easily spends at least $100 out of her own pocket on school supplies alone. 

»RELATED: Dayton area continues with hot market for home sellers

Many teachers end up stocking their classrooms with the same school supplies they put on their students supply lists because they usually run out halfway through the year, she said. But with school start dates moving up earlier every year, including some area schools starting as early as Aug. 6, the Kettering City Schools teacher said the holiday doesn’t help as much as it could.

“The driving force behind that is spring testing,” Gallagher said. “The earlier we get into school, the more time we have to teach.”

Moving the holiday up at least a week or two would help parents and teachers more because many cannot wait until the first weekend in August, Gallagher said.

Most local stores started rolling out back-to-school merchandise the week after the Fourth of July. But if parents and teachers plan to shop during the tax-free weekend, local store managers recommend going early Friday.

“Hit the first day running,” said Mike Burkhart, store director of the Meijer at 5858 N. Springboro Pike in Moraine. “Get what you need because the hot items will go quick. It’s hard to stay in stock on them.”

Friday before 5 p.m., when many parents get off work, will be the best time to shop if trying to avoid crowds, but Saturday will be “wall to wall people,” said Raheem Muahmmad-Terrell, executive team leader for the Target at 2490 N. Fairfield Road in Beavercreek.

But shoppers who plan to shop Saturday or Sunday will still find deals, said Ashley Phillips, the store manager of the Walmart at 8800 Kingsridge Drive in Centerville.

“Starting early in the morning is when we’re going to have the widest assortment and then we’re going to restock it every single night,” Phillips said.

»RELATED: Here’s how you can get free guacamole at Chipotle

Retailers see anywhere between a 5 and 9 percent increase in sales during the tax-free weekend, which first began in 2015 in Ohio, according to Gordon Gough, president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

Gov. John Kasich signed a bill that made the tax-free holiday a permanent law earlier this year.

“We have data from the last two years that shows there is a large spike during the weekend,” Antani said. “We would like to create a Black Friday-like event during August.”

BIZ BEAT: We tried grocery delivery service: 5 things we found out

While the holiday will save consumers some cash, it does cost the government. This year’s holiday is expected to reduce state sales and use tax revenues by $15.2 million and create a revenue loss of $3.7 million for counties and transit authorities, according to a Ohio Legislative Service Commission analysis.

“There certainly is going to be a tax revenue impact for the state, but the state is also going to see an indirect economic impact that helps offset that tax revenue impact,” said Chris Kershner, executive vice president for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

The increased activity by shoppers is expected to make up for the tax losses, with increased trips to restaurants, gas stations and other places consumers may spend money while out shopping during the weekend. That includes cross-border activity.

JUST IN: Opening date set for new discount grocery store in Kettering

Antani said its likely that Ohio will see shopping from neighbors to the west because Indiana does not offer a tax-free holiday. On the other side of the state, Kershner said the weekend helps keep some sales in Ohio, since neighboring Pennsylvania doesn’t charge sales tax on most clothing items or textbooks year round.

“In an era of online shopping becoming more and more prevalent it’s extremely important that we work with our government leaders and our businesses to have public/private partnerships to encourage support for our local retail establishments,” Kershner said.


• Back-to-school sales starting early as first day approaches

• Cincinnati airport tickets nearly $80 cheaper than Dayton

• Target has biggest 1-day online sales day, on Amazon Prime Day

•Turkish, Russian grocery store to open in Huber Heights

• Computer glitch affected Amazon shopping event: What’s really going on

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Hurricane safety: Who's responsible when a tree falls on your home or car?
Hurricane safety: Who's responsible when a tree falls on your home or car?

After a hurricane strikes, there is always plenty of damage to homes, cars and other property. Here are some tips to help determine who might be responsible when a tree falls on a home or car. If the tree falls on your home, your homeowners insurance should cover it. Homeowners insurance covers any covered structure on your property or a blocked driveway/wheelchair...
Vote on SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh set for Friday by Senate committee
Vote on SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh set for Friday by Senate committee

Controversy continues to swirl around Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of decades-old sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him by a pair of women. What was expected to be a simple nomination process has become mired in allegations involving incidents alleged to have occurred while Kavanaugh was in high school or college. Deborah...
Just Dunkin': Dunkin' Donuts to change its name
Just Dunkin': Dunkin' Donuts to change its name

Dunkin' is dropping the donuts - from its name, anyway. Donuts are still on the menu, but the company is renaming itself "Dunkin'" to reflect its increasing emphasis on coffee and other drinks. Besides, Dunkin' Donuts has already been on a first-name basis with its customers long before the tagline, "America Runs on Dunkin'." In...
Springfield spellers compete to raise money for literacy
Springfield spellers compete to raise money for literacy

Hearing the bell ring after misspelling a word can sting but it hurts less after remembering it was all for a good cause. The annual Altrusa International Club of Springfield Literacy Sting took place Tuesday afternoon at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Springfield. The adult spelling bee calls for Clark County businesses and organizations to...
Bill Cosby sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison
Bill Cosby sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison

A judge sentenced comedian Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in state prison Tuesday, five months after a jury found him guilty of drugging and molesting a onetime friend in 2004. Judge Steven O’Neil handed down the sentence after ruling earlier Tuesday that Cosby, 81, is a “sexually violent predator.” The designation...
More Stories