Everything you need to know about Tennessee’s 3 sales tax holidays


FILE – In this June 15, 2017, file photo, bagged purchases from the Kroger grocery store in Flowood, Miss., sit inside this shopping cart. A group of Instacart workers are organizing a strike across the U.S. starting Monday, March 30, 2020, to demand more pay and protection as they struggle to meet a surge in demand for grocery deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic. It was unclear how many of Instacart’s shoppers – most of whom work as independent contractors – would join the strike. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Tennessee General Assembly approved two more sales tax holidays in 2021, in addition to the traditional sales tax holiday on clothing, school supplies and computers.

What is a sales tax holiday?

A tax holiday is a government incentive program that offers a tax reduction or elimination to businesses. During the approved period, certain items may be purchased tax free. Some restrictions usually apply and the items must be purchased for personal use, not for business or trade.

It can get confusing which items are eligible for the tax sales, so the state keeps a list of what items are exempt from sales tax and another list of items that are not exempt.

Do items sold online qualify?

Yes, items sold online are also eligible during Tennessee’s three sales tax holidays.

When are Tennessee’s sales tax holidays?

  • Friday, July 30 – Sunday, August 1 – Clothing, school supplies and computers
  • Friday, July 30 – Thursday, August 5 – Food, food ingredients and prepared food
  • July 1, 2021- June 30, 2022 – Gun safes and safety equipment

What can I buy during the clothing, school supplies and computers sales tax holiday?

  • All general apparel that costs $100 or less per item, such as shirts, pants, socks, shoes, dresses, etc
  • School and art supplies with a purchase price of $100 or less per item, such as binders, books, backpacks, crayons, paper, pens, pencils, and rulers, and art supplies such as glazes, clay, paints, drawing pads and artist paintbrushes.

What can’t I buy during the clothing, school supplies and computers sales tax holidays?

  • Apparel items priced at more than $100 are not eligible for the sales tax exemption
  • Items such as jewelry, handbags, or sports and recreational equipment

*Items sold together, such as shoes, cannot be split up to stay beneath the $100 maximum.

What can I buy during the food, food ingredients and prepared food sales tax holiday?

All food items and food ingredients, excluding alcohol, tobacco, candy and dietary supplements, are eligible to be purchased without sales tax from Friday, July 30 through Thursday, August 5.

Food prepared by restaurants, food trucks, caterers and grocery stores are also exempt during this period. An item is considered ‘prepared food’ if it is sold in a heated state or heated by the seller, contains two or more food ingredients mixed together by the seller for sale as a single item or the vendor who sells it also provides eating utensils. Click here for more information.

What can I buy during the Gun Safes & Safety Equipment sales tax holiday?

  • A “gun safe” is defined by the state as: A locking container or other enclosure equipped with a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or other locking device that is designed and intended for the secure storage of one or more firearms.
  • A “gun safety device” is defined as: Any integral device to be equipped or installed on a firearm that permits the user to program the firearm to operate only for specified persons designated by the user through computerized locking devices or other means integral to and permanently part of the firearm.

Download the WATE News app to receive notifications when sales tax holidays are coming up.

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