Will Massachusetts have a sales tax holiday this year?

Lawmakers are considering bills to establish a tax free weekend

BOSTON (WWLP)—After dropping the sales tax holiday last year, some lawmakers and retailers want to give you a tax break this year. But with tax revenues coming up short and a lack of legislative support, prospects for passage remain uncertain.

The state’s Revenue Committee heard from the public Tuesday on bills to establish sales tax holidays, including one to make the tax free weekend permanent. Another would make this August 13 and 14 a sales tax free weekend, giving you a break from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax.

Retailers said the holiday helps local businesses compete with neighboring states and online outlets.

“With the acceleration of online purchases with the majority of those being tax free, we have to have a sales tax holiday,” said Jon Hurst, President of the Massachusetts Retailers Association.

Massachusetts canceled last year’s sales tax holiday. Lawmakers estimate the state loses about $25 million that weekend. With a current revenue shortfall of more than $400 million, lawmakers question whether the state can afford a sales tax holiday this year.

“We were unable to do it last year because revenues were so soft, they’re soft again this year,” Senate President Stan Rosenberg, (D) Amherst, told 22News.

“Here we are struggling for revenue in the Commonwealth, but it’s the other revenues that we notice an increase: meals, hotels,” said State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, (D) Lenox. “People make joint purchases when they see the sales tax holiday. The other revenues off set what we lose in my opinion.”

Bill supporters hope the committee will advance the sales tax holiday to the House for a vote.

Rosenberg told 22News the Senate is still considering this year’s sales tax holiday, which would take place in August.