Florida back-to-school tax holiday starts next week, with exceptions

You probably won’t get a break on those Doc Martens, kid.

Parents: You’ve survived the summer. To reward you, Florida’s back-to-school tax holiday is set for August 2-6. That means there will be no sales tax on a variety of items including:

  • Footwear, clothing and certain accessories ($60 or less per item)
  • Some school supplies ($15 or less per item)
  • Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories ($1,000 or less per item, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use)

If the personal computer you buy is over $1,000, then only the first $1,000 of the total price will be tax exempt.

There are obviously a few other caveats to the tax holiday (price limits, as stated above) and the fact that you can’t buy any of the eligible items in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging or airport (that one’s so Floridians, not tourists, benefit).

In rare cases, stores where sales of the above items comprise less than 5% of a retailer’s sales of tangible personal property in the prior calendar year may notify state officials that they are not participating in the back-to-school sales tax holiday provided.

Critics of tax holidays say that politicians love them because the holidays makes them look like they’re helping constituents. The argument is that the holidays distract from the bigger conversation about how tax policy can better help the families and people who need relief.

Dylan Grundman, a senior policy analyst at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, told the New York Times that tax holidays actually put a damper on state revenue and don’t necessarily deliver the business results they promise.

“People shift purchases, but don’t increase their overall spending,” he said. “So the boost to business doesn’t really materialize.”

Some families, however, are probably happy to get a small break.

Download a complete list of tax-exempt items via floridarevenue.com.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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