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Department of Taxation and Finance

NYS Tax Department Reminds Parents and Students about Tax Free Shopping During Back-to-School Season Course textbooks, clothing, and footwear sold for less than $110 are exempt from NYS sales tax

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 Back to school shopping

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today reminded students and parents of the back-to-school tax breaks on purchases of certain clothing and footwear, and on course textbooks for college students.

“It pays to keep this year-round tax break in mind, especially when making back-to-school shopping plans,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “The savings on purchases of clothing, footwear, and college textbooks can really add up.”

Sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear

In New York State, qualifying clothing and footwear purchases are exempt from state sales tax year-round. Many states offer "sales tax holidays" leading up to the school year, but in New York State clothing and footwear are always exempt from the state’s 4% sales tax when they are sold for less than $110.

Clothing and footwear items sold for less than $110 are also exempt from local sales tax year-round in New York City and the eight counties listed below. In 2017, the state exemption alone is expected to save New York shoppers more than $900 million. Savings from the combined state and local sales tax exemptions are about $1.3 billion annually.

New York City and the following counties don’t charge sales tax on clothing and footwear purchases under $110:

  • Chautauqua
  • Chenango
  • Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Greene
  • Hamilton
  • Tioga
  • Wayne

College textbooks

Course textbooks—when full-time or part-time college students purchase them—are also exempt from New York State and local sales and use taxes throughout the year.

Students can make qualifying purchases from any bookstore (including college or university bookstores), by mail order, or over the internet. If sales tax is erroneously charged, students can file Form AU-11 to receive a sales tax refund on the purchase.

For more information

Clothing and Footwear Exemption
College Textbooks