Back-to-school tax holiday begins Friday, offers savings for Gadsden, area shoppers

You know the old saying — the only two sure things in life are death and taxes. But for a nine-day span this month, that number narrows to one, at least in certain instances.

From Friday at 12:01 a.m. until midnight July 24, the back-to-school sales tax holiday will be observed. If you're not familiar with what a sales tax holiday is, it's basically exactly what it sounds like — no sales tax on purchased items.

However, it's not just for anything you want to buy. As the name implies, it primarily is for back-to-school items.

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For nine days this month, the state of Alabama will hold its annual back-to-school sales tax holiday.
For nine days this month, the state of Alabama will hold its annual back-to-school sales tax holiday.

It also isn't universal. According to the state of Alabama's website, "A county or municipality, by resolution or ordinance adopted at least 30 days prior to the third full weekend of July, may provide for the exemption of covered items from the county or municipal sales or use taxes during the same time period, under the same terms, conditions, and definitions as provided for the state sales tax holiday."

Basically, counties, cities, and towns choose whether or not they want to participate. Around here, you won't have too much trouble finding places that observe the holiday, which spans the entire state.

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A full list of participating counties, cities, and towns can be found here:

As seen on the site, Etowah County, as well as surrounding Cherokee, DeKalb, Blount, St. Clair, and Calhoun counties, will be taking part in the tax holiday.

As far as cities and towns, Gadsden, the seat of Etowah County, will participate in the tax holiday. Other Etowah County locations also listed as observing it include Glencoe, Hokes Bluff, Rainbow City, Reece City, and Southside.

In the surrounding area, Centre, the seat of Cherokee County, is part of the holiday. Other places in surrounding counties that will be offering tax-free items include Collinsville, Albertville, Boaz, and Steele.

There are specific items that are exempt from taxation during the nine-day period, as well as some that remain taxable.

Clothing items of $100 or less per article that will not have a tax during the holiday include the following: belts, boots, caps, coats, diapers, dresses, gloves, gym suits, hats, hosiery, jackets, jeans, neckties, pajamas, pants, raincoats, robes, sandals, scarves, school uniforms, shirts, shoes, shorts, socks, sneakers, and underwear.

Among clothing items still taxable: belt buckles, briefcases, cosmetics, hair accessories, handbags, hanker chiefs, jewelry, sewing equipment, supplies and materials, sunglasses, eyeglasses and contacts, umbrellas, wallets, watches, breathing masks, ear and hearing protectors, protective gloves, safety glasses and belts, welder supplies, ballet and tap shoes, band instruments, athletic shoes and gloves, mouth guards and athletic supplies.

Computers and computer supplies that will not be taxed include computers, computer software, and school computer supplies (such as storage media, handheld electronic schedulers, personal digital assistants, printers, and printer supplies).

Computer furniture, non-educational video games, and any systems, devices, software, or peripherals for recreational use still will be taxed.

School supplies of $50 or less per item that will not have a tax include the following: binders, chalk, book bags, calculators, cellophane tape, compasses, composition books, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, paste and paste sticks, highlighters, index cards and boxes, legal pads, lunch boxes, markers, notebooks, paper, pencils, pencil and supply boxes, pencil sharpeners, pens, protractors, rulers, scissors, writing tablets, art clay and glazes, paints and paintbrushes, sketch pads, watercolors, reference maps, and globes and required textbooks on an official school book list with a price of more than $30 and less than $50.

While books will not be taxed, magazines, newspapers, periodicals and any other document printed or offered for sale in non-bound format will be.

J.J. Hicks is a news reporter at The Gadsden Times. He can be reached at

This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Gadsden, other local locations taking part in tax-free holiday in July