Florida’s sales tax holiday on school supplies, clothing, shoes and other select accessories is this weekend–starting at a minute after midnight Friday, Aug. 3, through midnight Sunday, Aug. 5.
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 half-penny sales tax.
The Legislature approved the annual sales tax break as part of a larger tax-cutting package in House Bill 7087, which included $71.2 million in recurring tax cuts and $97.4 million in one-year tax cuts, according to a legislative analysis. The holiday is projected to save shoppers $32.7 million, reducing state revenue by $26 million and local-government revenue by $6.7 million.
The sales tax “holiday” will be limited to three days, as opposed to the 10-day “holiday” in the summer of 2015. It is the 16th time the state has enacted the tax break since 1998.
According to a legislative analysis, clothing and footwear have always been exempted at various thresholds, most recently $60. That’s the threshold again this year.
Books valued at $50 or less were exempted in six periods. They are not exempted this year. School supplies have been included starting in 2001, with the value threshold increasing from $10 to $15. The threshold this year is again $15.
The exemption for electronics, including computers, does not apply this year.
In 2013, personal computers and related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use with a sales price of $750 or less were exempted. In 2014, the first $750 of the sales price of personal computers and related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use were exempted. This year, the items must be $750 or less to be eligible for the tax break.
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.
“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 percent 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 percent 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.