Mississippi’s sales tax holiday just around the corner and just in time for school
By Toni Miles
Mississippi’s sales tax holiday is just around the corner and just in time for the 2023-2024 school year, giving local parents and guardians a much-needed break on the cost of school supplies and clothing.
The sales tax holiday takes place from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 28, to midnight on Saturday, July 29. It’s a temporary sales tax weekend, when the Mississippi Department of Revenue allows certain items to be purchased sales-tax-free at participating retailers within the state. The Mississippi sales tax holiday was passed during the state’s 2009 Legislative Session and was amended in 2019.
During the holiday, sales tax is not due on the sale of articles of clothing, footwear, or school supplies, if the price of a single item is less than $100. The price of an individual item determines whether the buyer saves on the sales tax, not the total bill. This is good news for thousands of people throughout the state, as parents seek to save money on back-to-school shopping as the new school year begins.
The tax holiday does not apply to sales of any other items not defined as clothing, footwear, or school supplies, nor does it apply to rentals. In addition, articles that are normally sold together, such as a pair of shoes or a uniform, must continue to be sold as a set or a single unit. Components of the unit cannot be priced separately and sold as individual items in order to qualify for the holiday. Likewise, if a retailer advertises a pair of pants as “buy one, get one half off,” with the first pair of pants priced at $120 and the second pair half off, then sales tax is due on the first pair priced at $120, though the second pair ($60) would not be subject to sales tax. Retailers may offer store discounts and store coupons to reduce the price of an eligible item to or less than $100 in order to qualify for the holiday, with the exception of manufacturers’ coupons or rebates, which do not reduce the sales price of an item. Sales of eligible items that are placed or ordered by mail, telephone, or the internet are not subject to sales tax, provided the purchaser orders and pays for the items during the sales tax holiday and the items are less than the $100 threshold.
Layaway sales of eligible items do not qualify for the holiday, and eligible items purchased during the sales tax holiday using a rain check qualify for the holiday only if the rain check is redeemed during the sales tax holiday. If it is redeemed after the holiday, the purchase is subject to sales tax. If an eligible item was purchased during the sales tax holiday and returned after the holiday for credit on the purchase of a different item, sales tax will be applied to the sale of the newly-purchased item.
In other words, in Mississippi, sales tax-exempt items that meet the requirements and that are purchased during the two-day holiday will not include Mississippi’s seven-percent sales tax, which equates to seven-percent savings, or seven cents of savings on each dollar spent.
Definitions “Clothing” is any article of apparel designed to be worn on the human body, including pants, shirts and blouses, dresses, coats, jackets, belts, hats, undergarments, and multiple-piece garments sold as a set.
“Footwear” is any article of apparel for human feet, except for skis, swim fins, roller blades, skates, and any similar items.
“Accessories” defined as jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches, briefcases, and similar items, do not qualify for the sales tax holiday.
“School Supplies” means items that are commonly used by a student in a course of study.
Eligible and Non-Eligible Items
The sales tax holiday will apply statewide to all consumer purchases of clothing, footwear, and school supplies with sales prices of less than $100 per article during the sales tax holiday.
Guidelines: $100 Threshold
The Sales Tax Holiday applies to each eligible item selling for less than $100, regardless of how many items are sold at the same time. Items priced at $100 or more are subject to sales tax at the regular retail rate of seven percent.
Rentals of Items
Rentals of clothing and footwear do not qualify for the Sales Tax Holiday and are subject to a seven-percent sales tax.
Items Sold as a Unit
Articles that are normally sold together, such as a pair of shoes or a uniform, must continue to be sold as a set or a single unit. Components of the unit cannot be priced separately and sold as individual items in order to qualify for the holiday. However, if components of a unit are normally priced as separate items, then they may continue to be sold as separate items and qualify if the price of the article is less than $100.
Pairings of Eligible and Non-Eligible Items
When eligible items are normally sold with non-eligible items as a set or a single unit, the full price is subject to sales tax if the value of the non-eligible (taxable) item exceeds the eligible ones.
Buy One, Get One Free or For a Reduced Price
The total price of items advertised as "buy one, get one free" or “at a reduced price" cannot be averaged to qualify both items for the holiday. The amount of sales tax due depends on the actual price paid for each item sold.