On Black Friday, the biggest shopping day in the U.S., stores offer major markdowns, crazy doorbuster deals, and rock bottom prices. In 2018, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), over 165 million Americans shopped during Black Friday weekend, and the NRF predicts that figure will rise in 2019.
Some lucky shoppers will find that their dollars go further if they live in states with low or no sales tax. Below are five of the best states for Black Friday shopping.
Although it’s better known as the Last Frontier, you could also call it "Black Friday Heaven." This northern state has no state sales tax, and two its largest cities—Anchorage and Fairbanks—also don’t impose a local sales tax. While Alaska does not collect a statewide sales tax, it lets local jurisdictions enact their own sales taxes.
Sweetening the deal, it costs Alaskan shoppers a whole lot less to drive to their local stores. At just 14.70 cents per gallon, Alaska’s gas tax is the lowest in the country. The highest being Pennsylvania, at 58.70 cents per gallon. Of course, if you live in the Lower 48, this could be quite a trek for the sole purpose of Black Friday shopping. So you might want to explore some of the other options below.
- Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, in which over 165 million shoppers seek great bargains on the day after Thanksgiving.
- With no sales tax—and no local sales tax in its largest cities, Anchorage and Fairbanks—Alaska represents a good deal for shoppers.
- Delaware also offers sales-tax-free shopping, handy, considering all the outlet malls and other shopping options in the state.
- Montana and Oregon also offer sales-tax-free shopping, making those states a good deal for Black Friday shoppers.
- New Hampshire collects tax on lodging, restaurant meals, and car rentals, but it doesn't collect a sales tax on consumer products.
Like Alaska, Delaware does not charge a sales tax, and this state is jammed-packed with shopping malls. Just off I-95, there’s the Christiana Mall, which is chock full of department stores, including Nordstrom, Target, and Macy’s, as well as more than 170 other stores and shops.
Delaware is also home to three Tanger Outlet Centers, which offer Black Friday shoppers sales-tax-free mega-savings. Of course, the state also has plenty of big-box retailers lining the commercial corridor of U.S. 202. By contrast, in neighboring New Jersey, you’ll be charged a 6.625% sales tax.
As far as shoppers are concerned, the "Treasure State" is truly a treasure. Montana does not collect a state sales tax (although the state does allow some tourist attraction areas to assess resort and local-option taxes of up to 3%). Next door in North Dakota, the state sales tax is 5%.
Oregon also does not collect any state or local sales taxes. As a result, Washington State shoppers flock to Portland after Thanksgiving each year, on the hunt for tax-free Black Friday bargains. By comparison, Washington residents pay 6.5% in state sales taxes.
While New Hampshire collects tax on lodging, restaurant meals, and car rentals, it does not impose a state sales tax on consumer products. If you live in a state like New York, with the highest combined average state and sales tax in the country, consider enjoying your holiday up North. A Black Friday spent in New Hampshire might yield nearly 8.5% in savings for a shopper from Manhattan.
The Bottom Line
While you will undoubtedly find Black Friday deals across the U.S. post-Thanksgiving, you’ll probably get the biggest bang for your buck in these five sales-tax-free states. Black Friday shoppers in Wyoming, Wisconsin, Virginia, Maine, and Hawaii also enjoy relatively good Black Friday deals. That’s because all five of these states have an average combined state and local sales tax of 6% or less.
On the other hand, shoppers in Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Washington, and Oklahoma are often considered the biggest Black Friday losers. Folks in these states will have to cough up 8% to 9% or more in sales taxes at the register.
Note that 45 states, such as New York and California, impose a "use tax" on out-of-state purchases. A use-tax means a New Yorker who buys clothing from a no sales tax state, like Oregon, will be expected to pay a "use tax" back home. Don't say we didn't warn you.