Twice a year Maryland holds special shopping events when the state sales tax on certain purchases is waived. These events help consumers stretch their dollar just a bit more, and help business owners generate more foot traffic.
Shop Maryland Energy and Shop Maryland Tax-free Week occur in February and August every year thanks to legislation passed in the 2007 special session of the Maryland General Assembly.
Shop Maryland Energy takes place in the month of February for qualified Energy Star products or a solar water heater. The tax-free period for these products begins on the Saturday immediately preceding the third Monday in February.
Shop Maryland Tax-free Week occurs every year beginning the second Sunday of August through the following Saturday. Each qualifying article of clothing or footwear selling for $100 or less is exempt from sales tax, regardless of how many items are purchased at the same time. For example, two $60 sweaters purchased at the same time are both exempt even though the total of the purchase is greater than $100.Additionally, the first $40 of a backpack or bookbag purchase is also tax-free. Accessory items, except for backpacks, are not included.
Unlike previous tax-free periods, businesses selling other items not eligible for inclusion in the tax-free week can participate in Shop Maryland. Under regulations dubbed “Sellers Privilege,” other merchandise besides apparel and backpacks can be sold tax free but with the retailer paying the sales tax.
These tax-free events will continue until the legislature decides to revisit the issue.