Back-to-school shopping

The Alabama Department of Revenue changed the tax-free weekend this year to July, rather than August, as it was in previous years. 

The 2019 back-to-school sales-tax holiday will begin Friday, July 19, and end Sunday, July 21, presenting an opportunity for Opelika and Auburn residents to purchase school supplies exempt from local and state sales taxes.

"The Alabama Department of Revenue has changed the tax (free) weekend date this year where it's in July instead of August," said Leigh Krehling, Opelika community relations officer.

Krehling and Auburn public affairs director David Dorton announced the tax holiday weekend and recommended citizens check the Alabama Department of Revenue's website,, to prepare for a back-to-school shopping trip.

“The items included and excluded from the sales tax exemption are the same as those included in the state legislation, authorizing cities and counties to enact this sales-tax holiday,” Auburn finance director and treasurer Penny Smith said.

Exempt items

“All apparel suitable for general use is exempt unless it otherwise appears on the taxable list," Dorton said, referring to a list of exempt goods compiled by the Alabama Department of Revenue. clothing items must cost $100 or less per article of clothing to be exempt."

Clothing items not exempt for the sales-tax holiday are handbags, umbrellas, sunglasses, jewelry, and protective equipment such as hard hats, safety belts, helmets and breathing masks. Sports items including gloves, shin guards, goggles, ballet and tap shoes also will not be tax-exempt, Dorton explained.

“Items exempt include computers, computer software and school computer supplies,” he said. “A single (computer and computer software) purchase with a sale price of $750 or less will be exempt.”

Nonexempt computer and computer software items are devices and software designed for recreational use, such as video games.

Periodicals, magazines, newspapers and documents in a nonbound form also are not exempt on the sales tax holiday.

“Any (school supplies) of $50 or less per item commonly used by a student in a course of study will be exempt,” Dorton said. “Supplies may include art supplies, reference maps and globes, textbooks on an official school book list with a sales price of more than $30 but less than $50, and books with a sales price of $30 or less per book.”

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