BY SHELLY TERRYASHTABULA STAR BEACON
Ohio consumers will once again get a back-to-school sales tax break on clothing and school supplies with the state’s fifth sales tax-free holiday, which begins Friday and lasts through through Sunday.
The legislation calls for sales tax breaks or tax-exemption on clothing priced up to $75 each and school supplies up to $20 each, whether bought in stores or online.
The sales tax holiday, which is now part of the permanent law, was sponsored by state Rep. John Patterson, D-Jefferson.
“I remain an enthusiastic supporter of the legislation knowing how it helps our school-aged families and our businesses in Ohio,” he said.
Ashtabula County Commissioner J.P. Ducro IV said the holiday is a help to local families and a booster to the local economy.
“It was an innovative idea that I’m glad has continued,” he said. “I hope shoppers will get as many things as they can here in the county so we can help our local businesses and keep that money reinvested here in Ashtabula County.”
The Ohio sales tax holiday, first introduced in 2015, saved consumers more than $4 million on almost $48 million worth of back-to-school purchases.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates total spending nationwide for K-12 schools and college combined will reach $82.8 billion, a little more than last year’s $83.7 billion.
Families with children in elementary school through high school will spend an average of $696.70. The average back-to-college spending per household is $976.78.
While the tradition of picking out new backpacks, lunch boxes, folders and notebooks may be the same, the way consumers approach shopping has changed in recent years.
The NRF identified four trends in back-to-school shopping:
• More than half of consumers plan their shopping around the tax-free weekend and will be looking at retailers for deals;
• More than half of consumers will do at least some of their shopping online;
• Along with the winter holidays, back-to-school shopping is one of the top spending events for consumers, edging out Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day combined, and
• Clothes and electronics are the biggest budget items on shoppers’ lists.
This year, stores in Ohio, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia are participating in a tax holiday. Each state has different days that it has designated as tax-free, and each has its own set of categories, along with limits for them.