Forecasters are calling for a little upcoming summer relief this month. No, we’re not talking about relief from the summer heat—we’re referring to “wallet relief,” with Connecticut’s Tax Free Week, from Sunday, Aug. 21 through Saturday, Aug. 27. All week long shoppers can take advantage of relief from CT’s 6.35-percent sales tax on many items of clothing and footwear, just in time for Back to School shopping, so plan accordingly.

Despite some exclusions, there are great ways to make sure the tax exemption works in your favor.

Sales tax is eliminated on:

  • clothing and footwear costing less than $100 per item
  • new and used college textbooks for students that present a valid college ID at the time of purchase

Retailers calculate sales tax is calculated after deductions from coupons or discounts, so it’s the final price of the item that’s important. It it is less than $100, there’s no sale tax. Eligible items under $100 put on layaway are also tax-free.

But (there’s always a but) there are exceptions, and some items are not exempt from applicable sales tax:

  • Clothing or footwear specifically designed for athletic activities:  football cleats, specialty boots for fishing, hiking, skiing and other activities
  • Dance shoes (ballet, tap, jazz)
  • Sports helmets and uniforms
  • Wet suits
  • Shin guards
  • Ice skates and goggles
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Handbags and luggage
  • Wallets
  • Hair accessories (barrettes and headbands)
  • and more

The website for the state’s Department of Revenue Services lists tax-exempt and non tax-exempt items.

Tax Free Week was started in 2000. This year, however, the benefit has been substantially reduced. In previous years, more expensive items—up to $300—were included on the list of tax exempt items.