Annual Massachusetts sales tax holiday weekend set for August amidst inflation and rising prices

The annual Massachusetts sales tax holiday has been set for Aug. 13 and 14, when shoppers will not have to pay sales tax on most purchases less than $ 2,500.

The date was chosen and announced by the Economic Development Committee on Monday. State law requires the committee to set the date by June 15 every year, or else the Department of Revenue gets to choose.

“Obviously with the issues with inflation, people are looking for a break from rising prices, so I have a gut feeling this will be one of the most successful tax break holidays we’ve had,” said state Rep. Jerry Parisella, who co -chairs the committee with Sen. Eric Lesser. “I’m hearing from residents and constituents about rising prices for so many things. This will give our folks in the commonwealth a chance to save a little bit of money on some of the products they may have been holding out on buying. ”

Parisella said the holiday has historically been good for retailers, as well.

“It’s an opportunity to promote and sell their products,” he said. “We’re hoping it’ll be good for our small businesses who are struggling to recover from COVID.”

The annual weekend was established and made permanent in 2018 by a law which also established a rise in the state’s minimum wage from $ 11 to $ 15 over a five-year period, phased out time-and-a-half pay on Sundays and holidays over that period and solidified the launch of a payroll tax-backed state paid family and medical leave program.

As part of the negotiations for that law, retailers dropped a push for a ballot question that would have lowered the Massachusetts sales tax from 6.25% to 5%.

The tax holiday does not include some specific goods or services, including motor vehicles, motorboats, meals, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, marijuana products, telecommunications services, natural gas, steam or electricity.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said before Monday’s vote that while the sales tax holiday was a good step, more needed to be done for consumers.

“While we are here to at least accomplish two days of sales tax relief, I would hope with the remaining time in this session that we would consider still expanding this sales tax holiday,” Tarr said, “as one of the best ways to be able to give tax relief to the citizens of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, who are watching these debates, and asking themselves, repetitively, if we have billions of dollars in surplus, and we are properly funded all of our accounts, then why is it that we cannot find the ability to reach consensus on offering substantial, responsible tax relief? ”

Material from the State House News Service was used in this report.

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