Massachusetts Tax-Free Weekend Is Here—Includes Online Purchases

Find out if online purchases are part of the Massachusetts tax-free shopping weekend on Aug. 14–15. Here's what shoppers can expect.

Rachel Curry - Author

Aug. 13 2021, Published 2:05 p.m. ET

The Massachusetts sales tax rate of 6.25 percent certainly isn't the highest in the U.S. (some areas of Illinois and California have to pay a jaw-dropping 10.25 percent). However, Massachusetts residents are still prepared to take advantage of the tax-free shopping weekend ahead of them. With the event set to take place on Aug. 14–15, 2021, shoppers can save on back-to-school necessities and other items.

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But with the COVID-19 Delta variant surges appearing in Massachusetts, online shopping might be the preferred strategy for some shoppers. Does online shopping count during the tax-free weekend?

Massachusetts has a relaxed policy on what you can buy during the tax-free weekend.

Some states celebrate tax-free holidays by offering stringent rules of what you can purchase in order to be eligible for sales tax cancellation. Massachusetts residents can use the tax-free weekend to shop for pretty much anything that's considered personal use. One of the few rules is that the cost of an individual item can't exceed $2,500.

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As always, there are exceptions to the rule. You can't use the tax-free weekend to shop for:

  • Tobacco

  • Marijuana

  • Alcohol

  • Vehicles

  • Meals

  • Boats

  • Gas

  • Electricity

  • Steam

  • Telecommunications services

Just make sure your purchase doesn't fall into one of these categories and that costs exactly $2,500 or less—and you're good to go.

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Do online purchases count during tax-free weekend in Mass.?

In a new-wave move, Massachusetts regulators have decided to include online purchases in the tax-free weekend. This means any applicable online purchase that you make within the Aug. 14–15 timeframe counts. Also, you get the added benefit of being able to access your favorite stores without having to worry about in-person store hours, which effectively extends the tax-free weekend.

Online purchases for the Massachusetts tax-free weekend are tied to ET

Massachusetts is currently in ET (Eastern Time) and purchases must be made between 12:01 a.m. ET on Aug. 14 and 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 15 in order to be eligible. Delivery doesn't have to take place during the event, just the actual purchase order.

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Presumably, you need to live in Massachusetts and have an in-state delivery

Massachusetts regulators didn't clarify the IP address logistics about online shopping during the state's tax-free weekend, but residents will most likely need to have a Massachusetts IP address on their computer or get their personal products delivered to an in-state address. Usually, sales tax for online purchases gets calculated when you enter your address, so the process would take place during this calculation.

While some states limit tax-free shopping to necessities like school supplies and clothing, Massachusetts is having a little more fun with it. The tax holiday is only two days long, so shoppers might have to do some scrambling to get everything on their list. Online purchases should make the process a bit easier for people who don't want to enter crowds at the mall or have to stay home and take care of their families.


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