The 2019 back-to-school sales tax suspension, or holiday, began at a minute after midnight today (Aug. 2) and runs through Tuesday, Aug. 6. The Flagler County district’s annual Back to School Jam is on Saturday at Flagler Palm Coast High School, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Concurrent with the jam, Carmen Gray was to host a “Stop the Violence” community tournament in memory of her son, Curtis Gray, the Flagler Palm Coast High School senior shot and killed on April 13 in Palm Coast. But the The Long Live Curtis event, going by its acronym, LLC–organized around a no-contact football community tournament on FPC’s practice field–was cancelled on Friday “due to weather conditions,” according to a Facebook update. The National Weather Service is calling for a 60 percent chance of rain Saturday with likely thunderstorms.
At the Jam, in the FPC gym, the district will have representatives from all nine traditional public schools schools on site, and a number of social service and after-school programs available for sign-ups. The Flagler County Education Foundation will be offering low-cost polo-style shirts and backpacks, and no-cost haircuts will be provided to children entering school.
The back-to-school sales tax holiday is one of two such holidays this year. The other was a week-long hiatus that took place in early June to encourage disaster preparedness.
The Legislature approved both tax breaks in House Bill 7123, which included several other tax-related provisions. $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.
For the back-to-school sales tax suspension, 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.
During the holiday, the following items that cost $60 or less are exempt from the state
sales tax and county discretionary sales surtaxes:
Clothing, excluding watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, and handkerchiefs, footwear (excluding skis, swim fins, roller blades, and skates), wallets and bags (including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs, and diaper bags, but excluding briefcases, suitcases, and other garment bags). The allowance also exempts various school supplies that cost $15 or less per item during the holiday. (See details below.)
Personal computers are also eligible for the exemption, as are related accessories, but the cost must be less than $1,000. This includes tablets, laptops, monitors, input devices, and non-recreational software. Cell phones, furniture and devices or software intended primarily for recreational use are not exempted. Also not exempt are monitors that include a television tuner.
Florida has enacted a “back to school” sales tax holiday seventeen times since 1998, according to a legislative analysis. The length of the exemption periods has varied from three to 10 days. The type and value of exempt items has also varied. Clothing and footwear have always been exempted at various thresholds, most recently $60. Books valued at $50 or less were exempted in six periods. School supplies have been included starting in 2001, with the value threshold increasing from $10 to $15. In 2013 and 2017, personal computers and related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use with a sales price of $750 or less were exempted. In 2014 and 2015, the first $750 of the sales price of personal computers and related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use were exempted.