Massachusetts Sales Tax-Free Weekend Underway: ‘It's Pretty Awesome'

This year, the sales tax holiday weekend in Massachusetts is Aug. 14 and 15.

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The sales-tax holiday weekend in Massachusetts began Saturday under beautiful sunny skies, and there's even better weather forecast for Sunday, much to the delight of shoppers across the state.

Under rules set by the state Department of Revenue, most retail items under $2,500 are exempt from the 6.25-percent sales tax on Saturday. Aug. 14, and Sunday, Aug. 15. There are exceptions, however.

Items not eligible for the tax break include meals, motor vehicles, boats, utilities, tobacco and marijuana products, and alcoholic beverages.

The sales tax holiday exemption applies to shoppers buying items for personal use only, so companies or individuals buying items for business use will still need to pay a sales tax.

Consumers who buy multiple eligible items each priced below $2,500 get the full benefit of the tax exemption even if the total bill exceeds that sum, according to the website for the state Department of Revenue.

Shoppers can also get a sales tax break on online purchases, as long as the items are purchased from a business that normally sells in the Bay State and is subject to the sales tax.

The sales tax holiday was established in 2018 by Gov. Charlie Baker as an annual event that would take place over one weekend each year as a way to support small businesses.

On Newbury Street Saturday, it was bags on bags on bags.

“It’s pretty awesome," one shopper said. "Everybody’s out, having a good time, enjoying the weather.”

While the Boston street tends to fill up on nice days, there's added incentive this weekend. And it works.

“I honestly knowing that I won’t be taxed on something will make me shop even more, so it gets me out there,” one woman said.

But not everyone is aware this weekend is happening. One such shopper told NBC10 Boston she would probably go out and buy more Sunday now that she's aware, though.

“I work at a small business. I actually have two jobs at two different small businesses," she said, "and I think the local support is what keeps us going.”

Coming out of a pandemic, businesses could really use the sales this weekend.

“My sister actually worked on Newbury Street at the beginning of the pandemic over at Serafina's, and she was let go and put on unemployment,” one woman told NBC10 Boston.

Unemployment is shrinking, as sales are improving among local businesses.

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