What to buy, what not to buy this weekend

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MONROE — Get ready to shop! Ohio’s annual sales tax exemption for 2022 begins Friday, August 4 and lasts all weekend.

With inflation at 9% and stimulus checks long gone, shoppers like Linda Noyes, who browsed the Cincinnati Premium Outlets this week, are looking forward to a weekend of duty-free shopping.

“I can’t wait,” Noyes said, while shopping with her daughter. “I hope to look around today and see what we can find, and come back.”

There she will find plenty of clothes available for duty-free from Friday.

So what qualifies for sales tax relief this weekend?

  • Clothing items $75 or less per item.
  • School supplies $20 or less per item.

Anne Winegardner of Premium Outlets says all clothes are eligible, which means you don’t have to buy only children’s clothes, a common misconception.

“No, you definitely don’t have to stick to children’s items.” she says. “Many of our stores that carry children’s clothing also carry adult clothing, so you can enjoy tax-free savings no matter what.”

More expensive items will not qualify, again

But many retailers say spending limits (set by Ohio lawmakers in 2015) are far too low for these times of inflation.

Notebooks, paper and pens will qualify, as will an inexpensive backpack costing less than $20, the type sold at Walmart and Target.

That expensive LL Bean backpack? Sorry.

Also, a $100 pair of Nike or other brand sneakers will not qualify for tax relief: they must cost $75 or less.

A bigger issue is that you can’t buy a kid’s laptop or iPad tax-free.

Lora Miller of the Retail Merchant Council of Ohio says that unlike many other states, electronics are still not eligible for duty-free purchases in Ohio, hurting families struggling to afford $300 laptops.

“We would definitely like to see the amount per item increase, adding things like computers, laptops, wearables, the kind of stuff kids need these days.”

The good news is that most children’s clothing is eligible.

And while sales tax varies by county, you’ll save about $7-8 for every $100 you spend this weekend.

Buyers from other states are welcome, online shopping too

Two other things to know:

Shoppers from Kentucky and Indiana can also take advantage of the holidays if they cross the state line and shop in Ohio.

Finally, the tax relief also applies to online purchases. You shouldn’t be taxed if you enter an Ohio address into Amazon, so you don’t waste your money.

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