It’s that time of year again, and back-to-school sales are in full swing. But before parents eagerly snap up every on-sale item, they might do well to consider this sobering fact: Almost everything they buy, from backpacks to lunchboxes to pencils, costs more because of tariffs.

In 2012 alone, the U.S. government collected $29,825,413,914 in import taxes. These hidden taxes are levied on everything from jeans to glasses to food and more. They inflate the cost of everyday goods and make August a more difficult time for American families.

Here’s a breakdown of added costs on popular back-to-school items due to import taxes:


Sally Platt is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.