Apple has been sending out e-mails to customers in a number of U.S. states alerting them to upcoming "sales tax holidays" that may entitle them to tax-free purchases of qualifying Apple products. A number of states sponsor these programs on an annual basis, lifting state sales taxes on limited items for a brief period to stimulate retail sales. The programs are frequently billed as "back-to-school" events that lift taxes on such items as clothing, school supplies, and computers.

Apple's Tax Holiday page highlights the details of the programs in each participating state, explains how to take advantage of the program through retail store, online, and telephone purchases, and notes that retail stores will have extended hours during the tax-free period.

There'll never be a better time to buy a new Mac from Apple. Just shop at an Apple Store and choose a qualifying Mac during your state's no-tax period.

And if you buy a Mac for college, you'll qualify for even bigger breaks: Apple education pricing and a free iPod touch.

States with upcoming sales tax holidays include Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia. Most of the states are offering their programs this weekend (Friday through Sunday), although customers should check Apple's site for specific details on their states' programs.

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