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Summary:

They say you can’t time the market, but for some lucky folks, there is special time to buy a new Mac and related accessories. By doing nothing other than waiting for this magic time, you could save an average of 5-9 percent on a new computer. […]

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They say you can’t time the market, but for some lucky folks, there is special time to buy a new Mac and related accessories. By doing nothing other than waiting for this magic time, you could save an average of 5-9 percent on a new computer. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time.

The right place is one the eight states that have computer-inclusive sales tax holidays, and the right time is usually a weekend in August.

Many state legislatures, in an effort to ease the costs of going back to school (and help themselves get re-elected), have enacted laws specifying periods of time where certain purchases are tax-free. Common exemptions include clothes and back-to-school supplies. Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee also exempt certain computer purchases from sales tax. Click on the sites of any of those states listed above and you’ll be linked to their respective Tax Holiday Information pages.

Each state does it a bit differently, and it can be confusing trying to figure out what’s included and what’s excluded. For example, mail order sales may still be taxed. Some cities can opt out of the state laws, and some cities may charge other taxes that are not exempt. Occasionally the computer cannot be used for business purposes and some peripherals are excluded. None of the states require that the computer be used for educational purchases nor must you be a resident of that state, so if you live near one of these eight states, it might be worth a drive to save some money.

If you decide to take advantage of a sales tax holiday, note that Apple stores will be packed. Go in a few days before and pick out the items you want and find out the exact rules. Based on past experience, Apple stores will have a procedure to get you in and out quickly on the tax holiday weekend, as their stores will have long waits. Want to avoid some of those lines? You might consider purchasing at an Apple Authorized Reseller.

Unless, of course, you like paying taxes!

  1. Adam Blaiss Friday, July 10, 2009

    Or you could buy it off of Amazon any day of the week, assuming you aren’t in NYC. And they’ll discount the system a bit even ($1200 MBP is $1155, I think).

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  2. FWIW, Amazon charges sales tax in many states now.

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  3. Or just go to Delaware! The FREE state! No sales tax ever!

    *this message not paid for by Delaware.

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    1. the Delaware Apple Store is the greatest. Right along the border – quick trip from Philly, doable from NYC as long as you’re up for an adventure.

      Apple also partners with corporations to offer a discount. My old company got 8% off. Pair that with the 9% NY sales tax savings & it’s definitely worth the tank of gas.

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  4. Brian Smith Friday, July 10, 2009

    Yeah, in Alabama a computer must be under $750 to be exempt, so the only Mac that fits the bill is the Mini.

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  5. Adam: Yes, but technically you need to remit to the state. My state of Kansas is cracking down on that and I know Florida is too. Some people like buying local at an Apple store :-)

    Brian: Isn’t that funny that the state of Alabama took Tom’s advice mentioned here http://theappleblog.com/2009/07/10/microsoft-takes-my-advice-mostly/ and assumed the average computer is under $750?

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  6. Or you can peruse some of the price trackers like:

    http://www.pcprices.net

    and take a few hundred $$ off the price with no sales tax anytime.

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  7. You could buy a refurbished Mac directly form Apple if you don’t want to wait for a tax holiday. Those normally save you more than 5%-9% too.

    http://efreebieclub.com/discount-ipods-and-cheap-macs-save-money-buying-refurbished/

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    1. I purchased a refurb Mac Mini for my kid ($499) – only has 1GB RAM, but we’ll fix that in short order for only $45…That’ll get him 4GB RAM and 256MB video RAM – too easy. I would have prefered the iMac, but already have a fantastic Samsung 21″ monitor, I couldn’t justify it for a 6 year old….

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  8. Oh great post. I’m in the market for my very first Mac, and I’m glad I ran across this. I just can’t do Windows anymore.

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  9. You are right. I would love one but I am not going to rush into it.

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