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Shopper alert: Iowa's annual sales tax holiday is this Friday and Saturday

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If you’re worried about how inflation will affect back-to-school shopping this year, take heart: Iowa’s tax-free weekend is here.

The state’s annual sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday of August and ends at midnight on the first Saturday of August. (It does not include Sunday.)

That means there’s no sales tax or local option sales tax on clothing or footwear priced at less than $100, which saves shoppers 7% in Council Bluffs. The exemption does not apply to any item selling for $100 or more. However, it applies to articles priced at less than $100 regardless of how many items are included in the same transaction. Clothing includes various kinds of underwear, swimwear, outerwear, hats or caps and uniforms.

For the tax holiday, “clothing” includes belts, suspenders, neckwear and scarves but does not include watches, watchbands, jewelry, purses, wallets, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, sporting equipment or any special clothing or footwear designed primarily for athletic activity or protective use and not usually considered appropriate for everyday wear, according to guidelines on the Iowa Department of Revenue website.

For example, tennis shoes are exempt from sales tax during the holiday, but cleats are not -- nor are sports pads or athletic gloves.

Unfortunately, backpacks are not exempt, either.

Formalwear is exempt if it is purchased, not if it is rented.

The tax holiday does not cover any kind of hard hats or helmets, whether they are football, bicycle or motorcycle helmets.

Eligible items purchased online are exempt if they are ordered and paid for during the tax holiday, even if they are delivered after the holiday is over.

For a full list of items that are exempt or nonexempt during the tax holiday, visit


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