Farewell to Back-to-School Tax Breaks: What Illinois Shoppers Should Know

Residents of Illinois getting ready for the upcoming back-to-school season will need to allocate a bit more money this year. Unlike the past three years, the state of Illinois will not be implementing sales tax breaks for back-to-school shopping. This change is being introduced by the Illinois Department of Revenue as a temporary measure.

A representative from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office has stressed that the back-to-school sales tax breaks introduced in Illinois last year were a one-time action aimed at combating inflation, taking advantage of a surplus in the state’s finances. (Photo: FreePik)

Back-to-School Sales Tax Breaks in Illinois

As per a published article, the “School Supplies Sales Tax Holiday,” also known as the back-to-school sales tax break in Illinois, was initially established in 2021 in response to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It served as a relief measure against inflation in the following year. However, the absence of this tax holiday has raised concerns among shoppers, particularly parents preparing for the upcoming academic year.

In the past, these back-to-school sales tax breaks in Illinois have provided a welcomed financial relief for families, lowering the sales tax rate from the standard 6.25%.

But with the sales tax rate now reverting to its original level, shoppers can anticipate an increase of approximately $25 in the overall cost of their school supplies.

A spokesperson for Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office has emphasized that last year’s back-to-school sales tax breaks in Illinois were introduced as a one-time measure to counter inflation, utilizing surplus state finances.

The Inflation Reduction Act, along with broader economic measures, has led to improved inflation conditions nationwide. While the governor remains committed to reducing taxes for working families, any permanent tax reduction would require careful consideration due to its impact on local governments, since revenue from the grocery tax supports them.

Will There Be Back-to-School Sales Tax Breaks in Illinois this Year?

According to a published article, the back-to-school sales tax breaks in Illinois will not be making a return this year, disappointing many residents of Illinois.

Officials from the Illinois Department of Revenue have conveyed that the tax holiday was only in effect for the year 2022, and there are no plans to continue it in 2023.

The spokesperson highlighted that the governor’s priority is fiscal responsibility, utilizing surplus revenue to assist working families, as evidenced by previously implemented temporary tax reductions.

Illinois parents experienced relief during the previous back-to-school season when a state law led to reduced tax rates on qualifying school supplies, clothing, and footwear.

This initiative, part of a budget of $46.5 billion approved by Governor J.B. Pritzker earlier, decreased the state sales tax on eligible items by 5% during a 10-day period in August 2022.

Last year’s back-to-school sales tax breaks in Illinois, spanning from August 5 to August 14, effectively lowered the tax rate from the standard 6.25% to just 1.25%. The tax exemption applied to eligible clothing and footwear items with a retail value under $125 each.

Importantly, qualifying school supplies were exempt from the $125 threshold, providing additional financial relief for parents and students alike.

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