This weekend marks a special holiday for folks in South Carolina…  it’s a sales tax holiday, when a whole bunch of things are absolutely tax-free!

You have a chance to save some serious dough if you shop this weekend.  This is especially true if you have school-age children.  The tax-free holiday’s happening across the entire state.

It’s the 19th annual sales tax tax-free holiday, and it promises to be a busy one.  Sources say back-to-school shopping and the tax-free weekend is the second best shopping weekend. (Not surprisingly, Black Friday is first).

This weekend is your chance to save a chunk of change on items you generally purchase this time of year.


Sales tax by the numbers… and how the savings really add up 


You’ll save the state sales tax (which, in South Carolina, is 6%), as well as local taxes.  Here in Charleston County, that’s an additional 3%.  So by shopping this weekend, you can save a whopping 9%.

That really adds up, when you consider what the average family with school-age children spends annually on back-to-school supplies.

For those with kids ages K-12, the average is $685.  For college-aged kids, it’s $942.  The National Retail Federation estimates the total spent this year will be a cool $82.8 billion nationwide.  That’s a whole lotta pencils and glue sticks!

The whole list of what qualifies and what doesn’t is HUGE, and I’ll include it below.  Basically, in a nutshell, you won’t have to pay sales tax on the following items: school supplies, computers, printers, computer software, calculators, book bags, clothes (!), shoes, bedspreads and linens, bath mats, and shower curtains.

However, you will still have to pay tax on cosmetics, eyewear, furniture, jewelry, backpacks (for hiking/camping – but book bags are okay), mattresses, wallets and watches.

It’s a great time to shop!


It’s worth noting that you don’t have to prove you are a student or have one to get the discount.  So this weekend is a great time to go shopping for computers, clothes and shoes, whatever your educational status and age.  There are plenty of great shopping options near the Isle of Palms.  Just head over the IOP Connector and hit Towne Centre in Mount Pleasant for some great options.

The holiday runs from this Friday, August 3rd through Sunday August 5th at midnight.

Read more on the story from the Post & Courier.

So check out the full list below.  And remember, when you are looking for a great beach house, be sure to call EP.  We have the very best in Isle of Palms luxury rentals.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Exempt aka tax-free items (A-C) include:


  • Adult diapers
  • Aerobic clothing
  • Antique clothing
  • Aprons
  • Athletic or sport uniforms or clothing (but not equipment such as mitts, helmets and pads)
  • Baby bibs, clothes, shoes, diapers (cloth of disposable)
  • Bandanas
  • Barrettes
  • Bath mats, rugs, towels (all sizes, including beach towels, great while staying in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals), washcloths
  • Bathing caps, suits and trunks
  • Beach capes and coats
  • Bed comforters and bed comforter sets, duvets and covers, bed linens including baby bumper pads, canopies, baby crib padding, bed skirts, box spring covers, dust ruffles, mattress pads, mattress toppers, pillow covers, and shams, pillowcases, pillows (e.g. baby pillows, body pillows, husband pillows, throw pillows), bed sheets and bed sheet sets, bed spreads
  • Belt buckles
  • Belts/suspenders
  • Blankets such as afghan, baby, electric and throw blankets
  • Blouses
  • Bobby pins
  • Bonnets
  • Boots (climbing, hiking, riding, ski, waders, fishing, cowboy)
  • Bow ties
  • Bras
  • Bridal gowns and veils (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
  • Capri pants
  • Caps
  • Coats, capes and wraps
  • Corsets and laces
  • Costumes (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
  • Coveralls

Exemptions regarding computers:


  • Computer hardware service contracts sold in conjunction with computers, computer software, computer software service contracts sold in conjunction with computer software, computer software service contracts when the true object of the contract is to obtain computer software updates during the contract period, computers Note: The following are examples of devices that are not considered computers for purposes of the sales tax holiday exemption: cell phones, smartphones or any other handheld devices that allow users to make telephone calls; handheld devices that are primarily used to download and listen to music; handheld devices that are primarily used to download and watch videos; and devices that are primarily used to download and read books (e-books). However, portable devices that have computing and media functions, allow users to access the Internet and have a multitude of software applications (or the capability to download a multitude of software applications) are considered computers for purposes of the sales tax holiday exemption, provided such devices do not allow users to make telephone calls.

Note: The sale of a computer monitor, keyboard, or scanner by itself would not be exempt during the sales tax holiday. If a monitor, keyboard or scanner is purchased as part of a package that included the computer processing unit, then that is one transaction to purchase a computer and the sale of the packaged unit (CPU, monitor, keyboard, scanner) is exempt. The sale of a digital music player, digital camera, cell phone or a smartphone, whether or not purchased in conjunction with a computer processing unit (CPU), is not exempt during the sales tax holiday.

Exempt, tax-free items (D-O):


  • Daily planners or organizers when used by school children as a school supply
  • Dress shields
  • Dresses
  • Earmuffs
  • Elastic ponytail holders
  • Fishing boots
  • Formal clothing (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
  • Furs
  • Galoshes
  • Garters/garter belts
  • Girdles
  • Gloves, including those for batting, bicycle, dress, garden, golf, ski, tennis
  • Gowns
  • Graduation caps and gowns (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
  • Gym suits
  • Hair bows and clips
  • Hand muffs
  • Handbags
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Hats
  • Headbands
  • Hosiery
  • Hunting vests
  • Ice skates (rentals are taxable)
  • In-line skates (rentals are taxable)
  • Jackets
  • Jeans
  • Jogging suits
  • Jumpers
  • Leg warmers
  • Leotards and tights
  • Lingerie
  • Mittens
  • Nightgowns
  • Overshoes

Exempt, tax-free items (P-R):


  • Pajamas
  • Pants
  • Pantsuits
  • Pantyhose
  • Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs (PDAs are hand-held computers used as daily planners. Please note that the exemption does not apply to cell phones with a PDA, computer applications or similar components.)
  • Pillow cases
  • Pillows (all types)
  • Ponchos
  • Printer supplies. Note: replaceable ink cartridges used in printers are exempt from tax as “printer supplies”
  • Printers, but replacement parts are taxable
  • Prom dress (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
  • Purses
  • Raincoats
  • Rainwear
  • Riding pants
  • Robes
  • Roller skates, provided the skates are permanently attached to the boots.

Exempt, tax-free items (S-Z):


  • Sandals
  • Scarves
  • School supplies, including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, blue books, bookbags, lunchboxes, musical instruments (but only if the musical instrument is used in the classroom or at home in relation to school assignments). Note: Items such as refrigerators, toiletries, bicycles and food purchased by college students are not school supplies and not exempt from the tax.
  • School uniforms
  • Scout uniforms
  • Shawls and wraps
  • Shirts
  • Shoes, including ballet, baseball, bicycle, boat, boots, bowling (taxed if rented), cleated, cross trainers, flip-flops, football, golf, jazz/dance, soccer, track, in-line skates, ice skates, running, etc.) (rentals are taxable)
  • Shorts
  • Shoulder pads for dresses, jackets, etc. (but not athletic or sport protective pads)
  • Shower curtains and liners (shower curtain hooks and rings and shower curtain rods are taxable)
  • Ski boots (snow) (rentals are taxable), ski masks, ski suits (snow)
  • Skin diving suits
  • Skirts
  • Sleepwear
  • Slippers
  • Slips
  • Sneakers
  • Socks
  • Sport clothing and uniforms, but not equipment such as mitts, helmets, and pads.
  • Sport jacket
  • Stockings
  • Suits
  • Support hosiery
  • Suspenders
  • Sweatpants
  • Sweatshirts
  • Sweat suits
  • Sweatbands
  • Sweaters
  • Ties/neckwear
  • Tights
  • Towels of all types and sizes, including bath, beach, kitchen, and sport towels. Paper towels are taxable.
  • T-shirts
  • Tuxedo (must be sold; rentals are taxable)
  • Umbrellas
  • Underwear
  • Waders
  • Wet and dry suits


Nonexempt aka taxable items (A-K) include:


  • Any clothing or footwear that is rented, any item (whether sold or leased) used in a trade or business, any item placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plan
  • Backpacks for hiking and camping (bookbags for school are exempt)
  • Bathroom accessories or supplies, including soap, shower curtain hooks and rings, shower curtain rods, toothbrush holders, towel holders, tissue box covers, toilet paper, wastebaskets.
  • Box springs
  • Briefcases
  • Cameras
  • Cell phones
  • Change purse
  • Clocks, including alarm clocks and wall clocks
  • Clothing that is rented
  • Computer parts
  • Cookware
  • Cosmetics
  • Costume rentals
  • Daily planners or organizers when not used by school children as a school supply
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital music players
  • Drapes
  • Employee uniforms
  • Eyewear
  • Footwear that is rented
  • Formal clothing that is rented
  • Furniture
  • Gift wrapping paper
  • Glasses
  • Goggles
  • Golf clubs
  • Greeting cards
  • Hardware, including hand tools, power tools, etc.
  • Health food supplements
  • Helmets, including sport, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.
  • Hobby equipment, supplies and toys
  • Housewares
  • Jewelry
  • Key cases

Nonexempt items (M-Z):


  • Mattresses
  • Mitts, including a baseball fielder’s mitt, hockey, etc. However, a batting glove is exempt.
  • Music players
  • Music tapes, records and compact discs
  • Paper products that are not school supplies such as greeting cards and gift wrapping paper, etc.
  • Paper towels
  • Personal flotation devices
  • Printer replacement parts
  • Protective masks and goggles, including for athletics, sports or work
  • Roller skates not permanently attached to the boot
  • Safety clothing for use in a trade or business, safety glasses and goggles, safety shoes for use in a trade or business
  • School office and janitorial supplies
  • Sewing accessories
  • Sheet stretchers
  • Shin guards and padding
  • Shoulder pads, including those for football and hockey
  • Shower curtain hooks and rings
  • Shower curtain rods
  • Sleeping bags
  • Smartphones
  • Sporting equipment, including baseball mitts, golf clubs, helmets, hockey mitts, life jackets and vests, masks, pads, swim fins, swimming masks and goggles
  • Stereo equipment
  • Sunglasses
  • Table cloths
  • Table placemats and other table supplies such as napkins and napkin holders
  • Tissue box covers
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush holders
  • Towel holders
  • Toys
  • Vitamins
  • Wallets
  • Wastebaskets
  • Watch bands
  • Watches
  • Wigs
  • Window curtains
  • Window treatments such as curtains, drapes, shades, valances