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Florida’s Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday Is This Weekend: Here’s A Guide

| July 29, 2014

The sales tax holiday, like new growths in backyards, is an indication that summer is almost over. (© FlaglerLive)

The sales tax holiday, like new growths in backyards, is an indication that summer is almost over. (© FlaglerLive)

Florida’s sales tax holiday on school supplies, clothing, shoes and personal computers and other select accessories is this weekend–starting at a minute after midnight Friday, Aug. 1, through midnight Sunday, Aug. 3.

Florida’s 6 percent sales tax will not apply to any item on the approved back-to-school tax-free list. Nor will local-option sales taxes, such as Flagler County’s extra penny sales tax that funds certain projects in Palm Coast and the county. Keep in mind: in Flagler, the annual Back to School Jam will take place at Matanzas High School starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, and running until 2 p.m. Backpacks, uniform shirts starting at just $5.00, and low cost school supplies will be available.


During the sales tax holiday, there is a limit on the extent of the sales tax break on individual items. The sales tax exemption applies to each eligible item of clothing selling for $100 or less (that’s up from $75 in previous years) and to each eligible school supply item selling for $15 or less. The exemption will still apply no matter how many items are sold on the same invoice to a customer. In other words you won’t get a tax exemption if you want to buy that trendy, $150 sweatshirt, but you may get the exemption if the sweater sells for less than $100. (See the full lists below.)

Same thing with school supplies: you won’t get the sales tax exemption if you want to buy a $100 calculator, but you will get the exemption if you but a $14 calculator. Also, keep in mind that if you’re at Disney, Sea World and other theme parks, the exemption does not apply to items sold there. Nor does it apply at stores in any entertainment complex, any public lodging establishment or any airport.

This year, books are not exempt from taxes, regardless.

“Clothing” means any article of wearing apparel, including all footwear (except skis, swim fins, roller blades, and skates), intended to be worn on or about the human body. However, “clothing” does not include make-up bags, roller blades, roller skates, shaving kits, hard hats, duffel bags, watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, or sporting equipment.

“School supplies” means pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, notebooks, notebook filler paper, legal pads, binders, lunch boxes, construction paper, markers, folders, poster board, composition books, poster paper, scissors, cellophane tape, glue, paste, rulers, computer disks, protractors, compasses, and calculators. But items that are taxable include computer paper, correction tape, masking tape, printer paper, staplers and staples.

There are also restrictions on retailers’ specials. Here’s how the Florida Department of Revenue explains it:

Example 1: A retailer advertises pants as “buy one, get one free.” The first pair of pants is priced at $80; the second pair of pants is free. Tax is due on $80. The store cannot sell each pair of pants for $40 in order for the items to qualify for the exemption. However, the retailer may advertise and sell the items for 50% off, selling each pair of $80 pants for $40, making each pair eligible for the exemption.

Example 2: A retailer advertises shoes as “buy one pair at the regular price, get a second pair for half price.” The first pair of shoes is sold for $80; the second pair is sold for $40 (half price). Tax is due on the $80 shoes, but not on the $40 shoes. The store cannot sell each pair of shoes for $60 in order for the items to qualify for the exemption. However, a retailer may advertise each pair for 25% off, thereby selling each pair of $80 shoes for $60, making each pair eligible for the exemption.

When shipping and handling charges are part of the sales price of an item, and multiple items are shipped on a single invoice or receipt, the shipping and handling charge must be fairly assigned to each item on the invoice or receipt to determine if an item is exempt during the holiday.

2014 Florida Back To School Sales Tax Holiday

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1 Response for “Florida’s Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday Is This Weekend: Here’s A Guide”

  1. Rich says:

    How about a Republican free holiday?

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