Need a break on back-to-school shopping? What to know about a tax holiday starting soon

·3 min read

Florida is poised to enter its second fall semester of school under the cloud of a pandemic.

And while there is renewed discussion and some confusion as to exactly how classrooms may look and function in terms of masking, social distancing and other precautions as COVID-19 once again surges in the state, there is one thing we know solid:

The familiar back-to-school tax free week is happening again this year — pandemic or not.

The savings apply from July 31 to Aug. 9. Yes, it’s slightly longer than a week. Be grateful for the generous math.

So says HB 7061, signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in May, that included other periods of tax savings.

The first of three tax-free weeks starts Friday. Here’s what Floridians will save on

According to the bill, and a 2021 Florida Department of Revenue guide, the savings apply to items including clothes and school supplies, and the taxes off the first $1,000 of the sales price of a computer.

Note the exceptions, though.

For instance, things break and the sales tax holiday does not apply to the cost of repairing the qualifying items. (Or renting, so don’t be rushing to get a jump start on that prom season tux or dress — plus, its sales price would take you over the allowed limit, anyway.)

Additionally, the sales tax holiday does not apply to sales in a theme park such as Orlando’s Disney World or Universal, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment or an airport shop.

So what can you get a break on? Here are some savings:

Clothing

Clothing has to have a sales price of $60 or less per item. It’s school, not the set of HBO Max’s “White Lotus.”

The tax-free offer also applies to wallets, bags, backpacks — but not briefcases, suitcases or garment bags — also having a sales price of $60 or less per item.

Clothing includes footwear but excludes watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, skis, swim fins and roller blades and skates.

School supplies

School supplies must have a sales price of $15 or less per item. You can use the tax break on things like 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 or paste, rulers, computer disks, staplers and staples you use on paper products — not staples for construction, however.

Also, protractors, compasses and calculators are part of the deal, as long as they fit into the price range.

Personal computers

The back to school sales tax holiday takes into consideration computers and personal computer-related accessories such as the first $1,000 of the sales price of the applicable items.

Personal computers include electronic book readers, laptops, desktops, handhelds, tablets or tower computers. But the sales tax holiday does not include cellphones, video game consoles, digital media receivers or devices that are not primarily designed to process data.

Personal computer-related accessories include keyboards, the computer mouse, personal digital assistants, monitors, other peripheral devices, modems, routers and nonrecreational software. But computer furniture or systems, devices, software, monitors with a television tuner or peripherals that are designed or intended primarily for recreational use will be taxed as usual.

Enjoy your shopping!

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