With so many people out of work and schoolchildren needing supplies to study at home instead of in the classroom, the annual Tennessee sales tax holiday is more needed than ever.

Traditionally, bargain hunters have enjoyed saving almost 10 percent during a singular weekend. This year, however, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has added a second tax holiday weekend in which consumers can buy restaurant food tax-free.

The first weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 31, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 2. 

The second weekend, Aug. 7-9, will allow Tennessee restaurants to sell dine-in and takeout food and alcohol without adding sales tax. The double sales tax holiday is for 2020 only.

Tax Free Weekend Sale! - Fleet Feet Knoxville

That’s not all that’s changed this year. Spending limits (the amount you can spend without taxes) have doubled to $200 on clothing/school supplies and to $3,000 on computers/other electronics. Items available this year for the first time are video games, printers, Kindles or Nooks, cell phones and smartphones.

Of course, school supplies are on the list. Technically speaking, they’re defined as "items used by a student in a course of study" — such as pens and pencils, paper, notebooks, erasers, glue and scissors.  

But for all those smart shoppers on a budget, here are a few non-school items that you may not have considered buying:

  • Baby items – Included on the tax-free list are diapers, clothing, and blankets
  • Office Supplies – While you may be focused on gathering your child’s school supplies, don’t forget to stock up on any of your office needs, like pens, paper, markers, poster board, etc
  • Technology – Anyone, not just students, can purchase a cell phone, laptop, desktop or tablet during the tax-free weekend. Your purchase must be less than $3,000 and for personal use
  • Clothing – Not just back to school clothing, but all clothing under $200 is included in the tax-free weekend. If you are looking for that item for your fall wardrobe or a piece to complete your work wardrobe, winter coats or gloves, this is the time to purchase it (you can even purchase a wedding gown tax-free as long as it is under $200, but the veil is not included on the tax-free list)
  • Shoes – Any shoe that is under $100 qualifies to be tax-free this weekend. Boots are included in the tax-free weekend event as well, including winter boots, hiking boots and rain boots
  • Art Supplies  – If you have younger children at home and want to restock your art supplies, now is the time

The same exemptions apply to internet sales, including Amazon purchases, as well as phone and email orders. For an alphabetical list of qualifying items visit tntaxholiday.com.

So, try to take full advantage of the savings, if you can. Don’t just think of items for your children's school year. Think of items you expect to need in the coming months. Think about you — your home, your office, your closet. 

Find out more about Tennessee’s two tax-free weekends at tntaxholiday.com.

*If you go out to shop, please wear a mask to protect yourself and others. 

Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 5-7; Bookbags, Flashlights and Clothing