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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > August 2021 > Consumer Protection Tips for Sales Tax Holiday, Back-to-School Shopping

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Consumer Protection Tips for Sales Tax Holiday, Back-to-School Shopping

As consumers prepare for Ohio’s sales tax holiday and the upcoming school year, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is offering consumer protection tips for back-to-school shopping.

Ohio offers a sales tax holiday each year before the beginning of the traditional school year. In 2021, that holiday is set for Friday, Aug. 6, through Sunday, Aug. 8. When shopping, make sure you understand which items are eligible for exemption from sales tax. Also, be sure to exercise good shopping practices, such as keeping your receipts and knowing the return policies for the stores where you shop.

The Ohio Department of Taxation provides detailed information about the sales tax holiday on its website here. For example, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax:
  • Clothing priced at $75 per item or less
  • School supplies priced at $20 per item or less
  • School instructional materials priced at $20 per item or less
Smart shopping tips for consumers include:
  • Plan ahead: The sales tax holiday runs Aug. 6-8, 2021. Consider in advance the kind of purchases you want to make and review the Department of Taxation’s FAQs here to understand what is and what is not exempt from sales and use tax. Also, research sellers’ reputations by reading customer reviews and checking for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau.
  • Understand return policies before you buy: In Ohio, sellers can choose to set their own return policies, including policies of “no returns,” but they must clearly tell you what their policy is before you check out or complete the transaction. For example, the return policy shouldn’t be posted only on the back of a receipt.
  • Stay safe online: The tax holiday applies to qualifying online purchases in addition to qualifying in-store purchases. When shopping online, research websites you plan to use and make sure your connection is secure before entering any personal information or payment details. (In the web address, look for the “s” in “https” or a lock symbol.) Also, consider paying with a credit card, which generally gives you stronger protections to dispute unauthorized charges.
  • Check the exclusions and limitations of an offer: Exclusions and limitations must be clearly disclosed in advertisements, including those online, so review terms and conditions carefully before you go to the store or make a purchase.
  • Keep your receipts: Maintaining a complete record of a sale will help you handle problems that may arise after a purchase. Keep receipts, copies of advertisements, photos of products and other documentation until the transaction and billing process are complete.
  • Monitor your accounts: Regularly check your credit card and bank accounts for unauthorized charges or unexpected activity. If you find problems, immediately notify your credit card provider or bank. The sooner you identify a problem, the sooner you can work to correct it.
  • Protect your personal information: Don’t carry around extra, unneeded credit cards, debit cards or other sensitive information in your wallet or purse. Also, limit giving out your personal information. Check privacy policies to see how sellers will use your information.
Consumers who need help addressing a consumer problem or question should contact the Ohio
Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.