Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday announced that the annual sales tax-free weekend will take place the weekend of Aug. 29 and 30. This marks the second sales tax holiday held under the new law signed by Baker in 2018 that made the weekend an annual occurrence.
“The annual sales tax holiday is an opportunity for us to support small businesses and consumers, and this year, it’s a great way to support our economy that’s been impacted by COVID-19,” the governor said in a statement.
“This pandemic has created enormous challenges for the commonwealth’s small businesses, and the sales tax-free weekend is one way that we can encourage more economic activity to help Main Street businesses and local economies.”
In 2018, Baker signed legislation that makes the annual sales tax holiday permanent. The Department of Revenue today is designating Aug. 29 and 30 as the sales tax holiday under M.G.L. Chapter 64H, Section 6A.
During that weekend, the sales tax will be waived on most items priced under $2,500 with several exceptions. The following items do not apply for the sales tax holiday exemption: meals, motor vehicles, motorboats, telecommunications services, gas, steam, electricity, tobacco products, marijuana and marijuana products, and alcoholic beverages. Layaway sales are not eligible for the sales-tax exemption. Rentals of up to 30 days qualify for the exemption, provided they are not for ineligible items like motor vehicles, and the rental is paid in full during the tax-free weekend.
The exemption applies to both brick and mortar stores and online retailers.
“As the commonwealth continues its phased reopening process, we recognize that many small businesses continue to face difficulties,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are proud that our administration worked with the legislature to enact legislation making the sales tax holiday permanent and look forward to this year’s tax free weekend and the economic activity that will come with it.”
“We are proud to continue supporting local businesses and consumers as we work with our colleagues in the legislature to navigate the evolving COVID-19 environment while adhering to public health guidelines,” said Secretary for Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan. “The upcoming sales tax holiday will be an opportunity for people throughout Massachusetts to help support local companies and generate much needed economic activity.”
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance welcomed Baker’s decisions.
“Though the sales tax holiday was signed into law as a legally required annual occurrence, the current pandemic certainly cast some uncertainty on whether retailers would actually see it happen. Governor Baker did the right thing by setting the date early and allowing businesses time to prepare,” said Paul Craney, a spokesman for the group.
“Retailers have been hit especially hard by this pandemic. With any luck, the sales tax holiday will begin the healing process for them and start bringing back customers who have grown accustomed to traveling out of state to make their purchases.
“If we’re really serious about jumpstarting this sector of our economy, serious consideration should be given to expanding the sales tax holiday and extending it to meals as a boost for our struggling restaurants. Other states are serious about getting these sectors of their economies moving again, it’s time for Massachusetts to join them.”