No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges
Your news source for
Flagler, Florida and Beyond

Back-to-School Tax Holiday Now Includes Computers, Tablets and Electronic Gadgetry

| July 25, 2013

Soon they won;t have to share.

Soon they won;t have to share.

Retailers expect an even bigger year from savvy discount shoppers as some high-tech gear has been added to the state’s upcoming three-day break from sales taxes on back-to-school items.

Certain clothes, shoes, wallets, bags, and backpacks costing $75 or less and school supplies costing $15 or less will be included in the “sales tax holiday,” which lawmakers approved for Aug. 2 through Aug. 4. And for the first time, personal computers, digital readers, tablets and select accessories costing $750 or less, as long as they’re not used for commercial purposes, are also covered.

The Florida Retail Federation expects additional hiring by some businesses and says electronics companies have already started lowering the prices on laptops and tablets to fit under the $750 benchmark to be sales-tax free.

“What it looks like is the retailers are preparing for the demand, and they’re marking down some computers so they can slide in under the $750 limit,” said John Fleming, spokesman for the statewide trade association.

The retail federation also expects businesses will start to include sales inserts in newspapers starting this Sunday.

The shopping period isn’t on the hype level of Black Friday, which is considered the unofficial kick-off of the Christmas shopping period. But its popularity continues to grow, said retail federation President and CEO Rick McAllister during a conference call Thursday.

Part of the popularity with brick-and-mortar businesses is that the tax break briefly creates a level playing field with out-of-state companies that year-round skirt the collection of state sales taxes through online sales, he said.

“It’s one of those times Main Street can compete with those who don’t tax,” McAllister said.

The state Revenue Estimating Conference has estimated the tax break will cost Florida $28.3 million in revenue this year, with local governments out $6.4 million. The statewide projection is up from a $25.9 million estimate from the 2012 back-to-school period that was also three days.

McAllister said retailers and state officials have also long supported the shopping incentive because the money lost on marked-down school supplies — to fit within the sales break guidelines — is made up as more people go shopping for discounts and decide to eat out.

Still, not everyone is juiced about the pending tax-savings period.

The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank, in a report posted Wednesday, noted that the holidays —- offered by 17 states primarily in the southeast — don’t promote economic growth, as most shoppers simply shift the timing of purchases. Also, it said the holidays allow politicians to distract from permanent tax relief and benefit the wealthy.

“While sales taxes are somewhat regressive, this is often exaggerated to sell the idea that sales-tax holidays are an effective way of providing relief to the poor,” the Tax Foundation said in outlining the report. “To give a small amount of tax savings to low-income individuals, holidays give a large amount to others.”

The foundation also claimed that some retailers may also raise prices during the holiday, reducing the eventual consumer savings.

The tax break, as has been in the case in previous years, doesn’t apply in theme parks or at airports or hotel gift shops.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 Responses for “Back-to-School Tax Holiday Now Includes Computers, Tablets and Electronic Gadgetry”

  1. Geezer says:

    How about a tax holiday on sporting goods instead?
    Today’s kids need more physical activity and sunshine.
    Unplug all of these gadgets and let youngsters experience a real life.

    Virtual lifestyles lead to social retardation (especially) and obesity.
    Virtual life corrupts the mind, turns your brain into Jello.
    UNPLUG, DISCONNECT – at least for a few hours a day for heaven’s sake.

    Marshall McLuhan, you are missed.

  2. Easily Fooled says:

    Here is something that consumers should take into considration during this upcoming 3 day “Tax Holiday” retailers aren’t out to lose money, their business survives on PROFIT ONLY! The retailers will possibly raise prices of items that currently fall under the 750.00 dollar tax free rule. Example: An item that is included in the tax free list normaly would be priced at let’s say 299.99, well during the “Tax Free” holiday they (the retailer) jacks the price up to 349.99 Therefore they are not losing money. I suggest that the consumer really do some price comparisons while shopping this year.

Leave a Reply

FlaglerLive's forum, as noted in our comment policy, is for debate and conversation that adds light and perspective to articles. Please be courteous, don't attack fellow-commenters or make personal attacks against individuals in stories, and try to stick to the subject. All comments are moderated.

Read FlaglerLive's Comment Policy | Subscribe to the Comment Feed rss flaglerlive comment feed rss

More stories on FlaglerLive

FlaglerLive Email Alerts

Enter your email address to get alerts.


suppert flaglerlive flagler live palm coast flagler county news pierre tristam florida
news service of florida
FlaglerLive is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization | P.O. Box 254263, Palm Coast, FL 32135 | Contact the Editor by email | (386) 586-0257 | Sitemap | Log in