School supplies are tax-free in Mississippi this weekend

This year, school supplies are added to the list of clothing and shoes that qualify for Mississippi’s annual Sales Tax Holiday on the last weekend in July.

The 7% state sales tax won’t be charged on qualifying items like jeans, pencils and backpacks July 26-27. The event starts at 12:01 a.m.

Friday and ends at midnight Saturday.

With classes starting Aug. 6 or 7 in most districts in South Mississippi, that means the tax holiday is more than just a few days before the first day of school.

Many of the schools provide a list of necessary supplies on their websites, and stores have lists available by school district.

The state Legislature amended the Sales Tax Holiday to include school supplies like calculators, folders, glue, lunch boxes, paint and textbooks. To qualify, each item purchased — not the total cost rung up at one time — must cost less than $100.

Most school uniforms and regular pants, shirts and shoes qualify as long as they are priced under $100. Belts and Scout uniforms qualify. Tap dance shoes and football shoulder pads do not. For a complete list, go to the Mississippi Department of Revenue website.

The sales tax holiday isn’t just for back-to-school shopping. Shoppers use the two days to start their Christmas shopping or buy for themselves, local retailers say.

“Business owners can also take advantage of the tax savings as calculators, folders, reference books, copy paper and legal pads are also included,” said Sen. Walter Michel, who represents Madison and Hinds counties and authored the expanded Sales Tax Holiday bill.

Sales of eligible items ordered by mail, telephone or the internet are not subject to sales tax if they are paid for during the Sales Tax Holiday and the items are less than the $100 threshold.

When do schools start?

For most schools in South Mississippi, the first day of school is Aug. 6 or 7 and the last day is between May 19 to 22. Spring break in most districts is the week before or after Easter, which is April 12. Most schools close early on Friday, Dec. 20 for Christmas and do not return until Jan. 6 or 7.

Here are the tentative schedules:

  • Bay-Waveland — Starts Aug. 7. Spring break April 6-10.
  • Biloxi — Starts Aug. 6. Spring break April 13-17.
  • George County — Starts Aug. 6. Spring break March 23-27.
  • Gulfport — First day is Aug. 6 for grades 6 and 9; Aug. 7 for others. Spring break April 6-10.
  • Hancock County — Starts Aug. 7 . Spring break April 6-10.
  • Harrison County — Starts Aug. 8. Spring break April 13-17.
  • Jackson County — Starts Aug. 6. Spring break April 6-10.
  • Long Beach — Starts Aug. 6. Spring break April 6-10.
  • Moss Point — Starts Aug 7. Spring break April 6-10,
  • Ocean Springs — Starts Aug. 7. Spring break April 13-17.
  • Pascagoula-Gautier — Starts Aug. 7. Spring break April 6-13.
  • Pass Christian — Starts Aug. 7. Spring break April 6-10.
  • Pearl River County — Starts Aug. 7. Spring break April 6-10.
  • Poplarville — Starts Aug. 6.. Spring break April 6-10.
  • Stone County — Starts Aug. 7. Spring break March 16-20.
Mary Perez is the business and casino reporter for the Sun Herald and also writes about Biloxi, jobs and the new restaurants and development coming to the Coast. She is a fourth-generation journalist.