Last minute back-to-school shopping? Here's how to lower prices at checkout
Through August 14, retailers must lower the sales tax on school supplies for items with a retail selling price of $125 per item. The move is part of the state's gas, property tax, and grocery relief bill that passed in April.
There’s still a way you can lower the total cost of needed school supplies as your family heads back to school.
Between August 5 and August 14, retailers must lower the sales tax on school supplies from 6.25% to 1.25% for items with a retail selling price of $125 per item. That lowers the selling price for needed supplies ahead of the school year.
The measure is part of the state’s $1.8 billion Illinois Family Relief Plan that passed in April, providing relief on gas, property taxes, and groceries for families.
“Our parents shouldn’t have to choose between buying essential school supplies for their children and putting food on the kitchen table. Our teachers shouldn’t have to break the bank to do right by the students that they nurture day in and day out,” said Governor JB Pritzker in a news release Thursday.
“Back to school should be as stress free as possible for working families and their children, and this tax holiday will help remove some of that burden.”
A recent survey from financial advisory group Deloitte shows parents spend about $661 on average on back-to-school shopping. That’s up 8% from last year, where parents reported spending $612.
This comes amid rising inflation and concerns about a national recession.
What items are eligible?
- School uniforms
- Notebooks and notebook paper
- Pencils, pens, and writing utensils
- Index cards
Are there any exceptions to the $125 cap?
Items used in the course of studying like aren’t capped, plus you can expect the sales tax reduction. That includes:
My kid needs a new laptop. Is that eligible for a sales tax reduction?
Many electronic devices do not qualify for the reduction, including:
- Flash Drives
- Printers and ink cartridges
- Cell phones
Can I use my coupons with this or still use store discounts?
It depends. Make sure the item is below the $125 threshold—below or after you would apply the coupon or discount.
Is there any relief for teachers?
Teachers can expect an income tax credit up to $250 for school supplies purchased for their classrooms like blackboard chalk, binders, index cards, and more.
Find the full list of eligible items here.
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