Back-to-school shoppers take advantage of sales tax-free week

Back-to-school shoppers take advantage of sales tax-free week

reporter photo

WALLINGFORD — Residents took advantage of the start of Connecticut’s sales tax free week for back to school items.

Tax free week started Sunday and runs through Aug. 24. The program waives the 6.53 percent sales tax on clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less regardless of how many of those items are sold to a customer on the same invoice. Store coupons can still be used during the promotion.

The tax break occurs a week before the start of the school year in Wallingford and Meriden.

Shoppers at Kohl’s, 1248 S. Broad St., on the Meriden-Wallingford line were busy searching for clothes, backpacks and footwear for their children this week.

Meriden resident Lucy Gomez-Martinez was shopping with her son and nephew to buy new sneakers for school Monday. Gomez usually waits until sales tax free week to purchase back-to-school clothes and shoes, she said, along with any other supplies her children need.

“It’s like the Black Friday of back to school,” Gomez-Martinez said.

She planned to hit other stores like Walmart and Boscov’s, later this week.

Kohl’s H.R. Operations Manager David Velazquez said many of the customers shopping during the tax free week are buying items mainly because their children are going back to school. Velazquez said items like school uniforms, denim and shoes are popular purchases this time of the year.

“It’s always busy for us but definitely a little bit more with the traffic of back to school,” Velazquez said.

Velazquez said shoppers will also take advantage of items on sale or clearance as well as the sales in the store. He said on Wednesday, customers would be able to save 15-30 percent on their purchases.

‘Perfect time’

Middletown resident Arianna Aresco, 18, said she waited until tax free week to purchase clothing needed for cosmetology school. Aresco needed to purchase black and white clothing for the Paul Mitchell school in North Haven, which she will be attending in the fall.

“Sometimes I buy things here and there but usually I wait until tax free week. It’s easier that way,” Aresco said.

Lucy Gomez-Martinez, of Meriden, talks about shopping during tax-free week at Kohl's in Wallingford, Mon., Aug. 19, 2019. Dave Zajac, Record-Journal

Meriden resident Paula Rosado was eager to take advantage of the tax free week with her children Camila, 11, and Nicolas, 3, shopping for clothes.

“Now is the perfect time since it’s a change in season and a new school year,” Rosado said. “Time to renew the closet.”

State analysts project this year’s promotion will save consumers $4.9 million in total.

Online as well

The exemption applies not only to transactions at Connecticut-based, brick-and-mortar retailers, but also to online purchases made by Connecticut residents. But if an online item is ordered during the sales-tax-free week but not actually paid for until after Aug. 24, then sales tax will be charged.

“Having this tax-free holiday helps working families stretch their dollar a little bit more during the busy back-to-school season while giving businesses an extra boost to their bottom line,” said Gov. Ned Lamont, who agreed with the legislature in June to authorize another sales-tax-free week as part of the new state budget. “I also encourage residents during this busy shopping week to consider locally-owned retailers and supporting Connecticut’s small business community.”

Paula Rosado, of Meriden, shops for clothes for daughter, Camila, 6, as son Nicolas, 3, watches a video during tax-free week at Kohl's in Wallingford, Mon., Aug. 19, 2019. Dave Zajac, Record-Journal

“Sales tax-free week offers real savings at an opportune time, when families are planning for the school year and shopping for new clothing and footwear,” added DRS Commissioner Scott D. Jackson. “In addition to promoting Connecticut’s retail sector, the sales tax holiday helps stretch shopping budgets – something we can all appreciate and look forward to.”

Pivotal role

Timothy G. Phelan, president of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, said store owners prepare throughout the year for this one week in August.

“Retailers are also actively involved in their communities and play a pivotal role in the strength and vibrancy of the Connecticut economy,” Phelan said. Many retailers in Connecticut frequently offer additional clothing and footwear discounts during sales tax free weeks.

Further information about the sales-tax-free week can be obtained on the DRS website.

A report by the Connecticut Mirror is included in this story and originally appeared at


Twitter: @JenieceRoman