Here’s what’s tax-free — and what’s not — during SC’s upcoming tax-free weekend

What you need to know about SC’s sales tax holiday

South Carolina is eliminating the six percent state sales tax for back-to-school essentials from August 2-4. See what will be tax free in this video.
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South Carolina is eliminating the six percent state sales tax for back-to-school essentials from August 2-4. See what will be tax free in this video.

As students in South Carolina prepare to head back to school, the state is again holding its tax-free weekend, during which shoppers won’t be charged sales tax on a variety of eligible items.

This year’s sales tax holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 2 and runs through Aug. 4, during which a variety of back-to-school essentials will be exempt from the state’s 6% sales tax, according to the S.C. Department of Revenue. Local sales taxes also will be suspended, including Richland County’s penny sales tax for road improvements.

In years past, shoppers have saved between $2 million and $3 million during the tax-free holiday weekend, according to the agency.

The list of exempt items this year remains the same, according to Department of Revenue spokeswoman Bonnie Swingle.

“A lot of people ask whether their online purchases are tax-free, and they are,” Swingle said. “We’ve had people ask about smartphones, and smartphones aren’t included during tax-free weekend.”

Items exempt during the tax-free weekend include:

Clothing and accessories

  • Belts
  • Suspenders
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Leggings
  • Neckties
  • Scarves
  • Pants, jeans and shorts
  • Shirts and blouses
  • Suits and blazers
  • Sweaters and sweatshirts
  • Coats
  • Gloves and mittens
  • Hats and caps
  • Rainwear and umbrellas
  • Underwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Sports and exercise wear
  • Formal wear
  • Maternity clothing
  • Baby clothes
  • Baby shoes
  • Baby diapers
  • Pet coats and sweaters
  • Pocketbooks and purses


  • Boots
  • Flip flops
  • Sandals
  • Shoes
  • Slippers
  • Sports/exercise, including cleats, dance shows, hiking boots and ski boots
  • Miscellaneous/specialty shoes, including diabetic shoes, orthaepedic shoes, rain boots and skates

School supplies

  • Art supplies
  • Book bags and backpacks
  • Binders
  • Books
  • Calculators
  • Calendars
  • Compasses and protractors
  • Computer bags
  • Computer supplies, including earbuds, headphones and flash drives
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Folders
  • Glue and glue sticks
  • Lunchboxes
  • Markers
  • Musical instruments used for school assignments, including rentals
  • Music supplies
  • Notebooks
  • Paper (typing, graph, construction and posterboard)
  • Pencils and pencil sharpeners
  • Pens
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Staplers and staples
  • Tape

Computers, computer software, printers and printer supplies

  • Computer supplies (monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers) when sold as a package with a central processing unit
  • Laptop, desktop or tablet computer systems
  • Warranty and service agreements
  • Printers
  • Printer cartridges
  • Printer paper
  • Printer toner
  • Printer ink

Bed and bath supplies

  • Bath mats and rugs
  • Shower curtains and liners
  • Towels and wash cloths
  • Bed skirts
  • Bed spreads and comforters
  • Blankets and throws
  • Mattress pads and toppers
  • Pillows
  • Sheets and pillow cases

For more information about exempt and taxable items and frequently asked questions, visit the Department of Revenue’s website.

Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.