Illinois' Sales Tax Holiday: How it Works, and the Back-to-School Items You Could Save On

For 10 days in August, the tax rate on clothes and school supplies will be reduced from 6.25% to 1.25%

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As families and teachers across Illinois prepare for back-to-school season, a 10-day state sales tax holiday will kick into gear on a number of items for school shoppers, bringing some much-needed financial relief while inflation continues to strain prices on gas, groceries and more.

"Whether it's bookbags or calculators, writing tablets, notebooks or binders, folders, clothing or footwear. If our students need it for school, it's covered by this tax cut," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a press conference Thursday.

The 10-day holiday begins Friday, and applies specifically to back-to-school items, like school supplies, clothing and more. But, there are restrictions -- and not all retail items qualify.

Here's a breakdown of everything you need to know about Illinois sales tax holiday.

What is the tax holiday?

Senate Bill 157 lowers the tax rate on clothes and school supplies by 5% for 10 days in August.

“As a nod to our working parents, guardians and teachers in Illinois, lowering the tax rate on school supplies removes a burden when preparing for the academic year,” State Sen. Rachelle Crowe said in a statement. “It is my hope that by instituting a tax holiday, we can help relieve families and educators of some financial costs in order to prepare students for the upcoming school year.”

The move was part of a $46.5 billion budget signed by Pritzker in April. It went into effect July 1, the start of the state's fiscal year.

When does the sales tax holiday begin, and how long does it last?

The 10-day period begins Aug. 5 and ends on Aug. 14

How much will you save?

Over the 10 days, the tax rate will drop from 6.25% to 1.25% .

Which items will see lower tax rates? Are there any restrictions?

Qualifying purchases include certain clothing and footwear with a retail selling price of less than $125 per item. Eligible school supplies items are not subject to the $125 threshold.

Here's a full list of items that qualify under the tax drop:


Retail selling price must be less
than $125 per item

• household and shop aprons
• athletic supporters
• bathing suits and caps
• belts and suspenders
• coats and jackets
• gloves and mittens
• hats, caps, and ear muffs
• lab coats
• neckties
• rainwear
• rubber pants (covers for cloth
• scarves
• underwear
• school uniforms
• shorts and pants
• skirts and dresses
• hosiery and pantyhose
• shirts and blouses


Retail selling price must be less
than $125 per item
• shoes, sneakers, and shoe laces
• sandals
• slippers
• socks and stockings
• footlets
• boots and overshoes
• insoles for shoes
• steel-toed shoes

School supplies

Must be used by students in the
course of study
• binders
• book bags
• calculators
• cellophane tape
• blackboard chalk
• composition books
• crayons
• colored pencils
• erasers
• expandable pocket, plastic, and
manila folders
• glue, paste, and paste sticks
• highlighters
• index cards and index card boxes
• legal pads
• lunch boxes
• markers
• notebooks and notebook paper,
including loose leaf notebook,
copy, graph, tracing, manila,
colored and construction paper,
and poster board
• pencils and pencil leads
• pens, ink, and ink refills for pens
• pencil boxes and other school
supply boxes
• pencil sharpeners
• protractors, rulers, and compasses
• scissors
• writing tablets

Which items don't qualify?

Clothing accessories

Any clothing item with a retail
selling price of $125 or more, and
• briefcases
• cosmetics
• hair notions including, but not
limited to barrettes, hair bows,
and hair nets
• handbags and wallets
• handkerchiefs
• jewelry and watches
• non-prescription sunglasses
• umbrellas
• wigs and hair pieces
Sports or recreational
• gloves, including but not limited
to baseball, bowling, boxing,
hockey, and golf gloves
• goggles
• hand and elbow guards
• life preservers and vests
• mouth guards
• shin guards
• shoulder pads
• wetsuits

Protective equipment

• breathing masks
• clean room apparel and equipment
• ear and hearing protectors
• face shields
• hard hats and helmets
• paint or dust respirators
• protective gloves
• safety glasses and goggles
• safety and tool belts
• welder’s gloves and masks
• ballet, tap, cleated or spiked
athletic shoes
• roller and ice skates
• ski boots
• waders and fins

Office supplies

Any item not used by students in
the course of study, and
• clay and glazes
• acrylic, tempera, and oil paints
• paintbrushes for artwork
• sketch and drawing pads
• watercolors
Instructional material
• reference books
• reference maps and globes
• textbooks and workbooks
• computers and related supplies
• flashdrives and other computer
data storage devices
• data storage media such as
diskettes, and compact disks
• boxes and cases for disk storage
• external ports or drives
• computer cases
• computer cables
• computer printers
• printer cartridges, toner, and ink
• cameras and related supplies
such as film and memory cards,
video cameras, tapes and
• cell phones
• Personal Digital Assistants
(PDA’s) and handheld electronic

For more information on the sales tax holiday click here.

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