school supplies tax

Tax-Free Weekend vs. Tax Holiday: What to Know About Illinois' 10-Day Sales Tax Break

While states like Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Texas have tax-free weekends, Illinois has 10 days of a sales tax holiday

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Illinois began a sales tax holiday on a number of items for shoppers Friday, but it's not quite the same as the tax-free weekends many states have this time of year.

While states like Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Texas have tax-free weekends, Illinois has 10 days of a sales tax holiday.

Unlike tax-free weekends, there will still be a sales tax in Illinois. The holiday will only reduce tax rates as many prepare for back-to-school shopping and only certain purchases will qualify.

Here's what you should know.

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 Gov. J.B. Pritzker in April.

“The budget I’m signing into law today brings real improvements to the lives of working families and sets us up for a stronger fiscal future,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Investments in stronger schools, modernized airports and newly paved highways, hundreds of thousands of well-paying infrastructure jobs, and a better funded pension system… these are the kind of priorities we can invest in when our state is governed responsibly.”

The budget plan went into effect on July 1, the start of the state’s fiscal year.

Other tax relief efforts included in the budget were a suspension of the state's grocery tax and a temporary halt on a gas tax hike that was set to take effect this month.

When is the tax rate lowered in Illinois?

The 10-day period begins on Aug. 5 and continues for two weekends, ending on Aug. 14.

How much will you save?

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

Which items will see lower tax rates?

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:

Clothing

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
diapers)
• scarves
• underwear
• school uniforms
• shorts and pants
• skirts and dresses
• hosiery and pantyhose
• shirts and blouses

Footwear

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
equipment
• 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
Footwear
• ballet, tap, cleated or spiked
athletic shoes
• roller and ice skates
• ski boots
• waders and fins

School 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
videotapes
• cell phones
• Personal Digital Assistants
(PDA’s) and handheld electronic
schedulers

For more information on the sales tax holiday click here.

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