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 (s aapl) 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!