MARYLAND — As one of few states in the country to offer an entire week of tax-free shopping, the Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week starts Sunday and runs through Aug. 15. Any single qualifying article of clothing or footwear priced $100 or less, regardless of how many items are purchased at the same time, will be exempt from the state's six percent sales tax. The first $40 of any backpack purchase also is tax free. Just a few of the many tax exempt items include hats, costumes, clothes, coats, flip flops and some sports items like football pants and baseball gloves.

Although commonly associated with back-to-school shopping, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot noted that the tax-free savings apply to shoppers of all ages.

"This is one of my favorite weeks of the year because it's a win for shoppers and businesses, while jolting Maryland's economy during the slow summer months," Franchot said in a statement. "This year more than ever, it's critical to shop local to support the small retailers who are going above and beyond to continue paying employees, creating a safe environment for customers and finding new ways to sell their products during a global pandemic."

The Maryland Retailers Association is offering scholarships to two students attending a Maryland university, college or trade school ($1,000 for first place and $500 for second place) by explaining how they helped a Maryland business keep the lights on during the coronavirus pandemic. Examples might include helping to build or improve a company website, creating unique content for a social media account or going above and beyond as a store employee to fulfill online orders.

Entries may be submitted to or they can be posted on the tax-free week's social media pages at Shop Maryland Tax Free on Facebook and @shopmdtaxfree on Twitter and Instagram. Business owners, parents, colleagues and friends are encouraged to submit a nomination. Students may also self-nominate.

"Small businesses depend on their community to survive unexpected and long-lasting economic downturns," said Cailey Locklair, president of the Maryland Retailers Association. "We want to hear about the young people who have stepped up during this global pandemic to support their local retailers. They deserve our appreciation and we're happy to provide these scholarships to two worthy recipients." Read more at Patch