Massachusetts' Tax-Free Weekend Starts Saturday. Here's What to Know

Buyers won't pay Massachusetts' sales tax on retail items for personal use that cost up to $2,500

NBC Universal, Inc.

Massachusetts' sales tax holiday weekend is about to begin, and shoppers are ready, especially with the way inflation has risen this year.

"All the prices have gone up. This is the perfect time to hoard everything that you need to buy right now," excited shopper Akou Diabakhate said Friday.

Tax-free weekend is bigger than Black Friday at Tad Pole, a South End baby store. Manager Olga Villegaas said shoppers rush in for big savings on big-ticket items, like car seats and strollers.

"We try to target our customers and let them know and remind them that this is the weekend to save," she said.

A state surplus could mean tax relief for residents, but it's not a done deal.

Here are the specifics:

The weekend-long tax holiday lets buyers skip the usual 6.25% sales tax on retail items for personal use that cost up to $2,500.

Other exceptions include food, alcohol, tobacco products, marijuana, vehicles (including motor boats) and gas and other utilities. And purchases by businesses, or by individuals for business use, remain taxable.

See other qualifying information, including what to know about internet sales and rentals, here.

Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, was optimistic that many shoppers will be taking advantage, since there's no longer a supply change shortage and inventory is up.

"I think this is going to be a robust weekend, one of the best sales tax holidays we've had for a while, simply because the consumer is going to have more to choose from this year than what they did last year," he said.

NBC consumer teams went shopping at three stores to see which have the lowest prices for back-to-school supplies.

That could mean stores offering bigger discounts to get people in the door.

"As consumers get a little more cautious worrying about inflation, worrying about impending recession, you're going to see a lot of discounts," Hurst said.

Back to school items are a popular buy this time of year, along with technology and clothing, he said.

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