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According to the dictionary, the phrase "as of" means "a time at which something begins or ends" (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/as%20of). As a result, I find it difficult to determine whether the date following "as of" is the starting date of the ending date. For example, the phrase, "takes effect as of July 1", seems to me that July 1 could be both the ending date at which something takes effect or the starting date. I wonder if there is a way to identify which of the 2 meanings apply in sentences?

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It means that the change referred to becomes effective on that date. It can be applied to the beginning or to the ending of something, and that must be made clear in the context.

The sale price takes effect as of July 1.
The sale is over as of August 1.

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