Florida is gearing up children going back to school and parents are getting re-focused on the school year routine. Most schools in Florida start the week of August 23rd. Florida legislation has officially designated Friday, August 13 – Sunday, August 15 the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday as part of the Tax Relief Act. The legislative intent is to provide the citizens of Florida a tax break on the purchase of books; clothing; footwear; certain bags such as purses, wallets, backpacks, and diaper bags; and certain school supplies. (No other items are included in the tax exemption.) All families can take advantage of this tax break weekend to help with back-to-school expenses. This sales tax holiday is a great benefit for families with multiples due to the extra expenses of having to buy many of the same items on back-to-school supplies list.
The 2010 Florida Legislature passed and the Governor approved a tax-free period that states:
No sales tax shall be collected on the sale of books, clothing, wallets, or bags, including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs, and diaper bags, but excluding briefcases, suitcases, and other garment bags, having a sales price of $50 or less, or on sales of certain school supplies having a sales price of $10 or less for the period beginning 12:01 a.m., August 13, 2010, and ending at midnight, August 15, 2010.
“Book” means a set of printed sheets bound together and published in a volume. The term “book” does not include newspapers, magazines, other periodicals, or audio books.
“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 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.
F.A.Qs about the Florida Sales Tax Holiday via Florida Department of Revenue:
What is new this year?
More items were added to the definition of “school supplies”. There continues to be an exemption for clothing, footwear, and certain accessories. Many items are included in the exemption. For example, all shoes include shoes with cleats or spikes in the tax exemption. Also, the tax exemption includes wallets, handbags, backpacks, and diaper bags. The cap for each eligible tax-exempt item of clothing, footwear, and accessories is $50. There also continues to be an exemption for certain school supplies. The school supplies that qualify for the tax exemption are 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. The cap for each eligible tax-exempt school supply item is $10.
The tax-exempt time period is 3 days and covers one weekend. The dates are August 13, 2010, through August 15, 2010. Theme parks, entertainment complexes, public lodging establishments, and airports are excluded from participating in the exemption. Sales at any of these establishments are taxable as usual.
Why are some items not included in the tax holiday for school supplies? The item not listed is a supply used for school?
Only a specific list of items was identified in the bill to be tax exempt school supplies. No other items were authorized. The labeling or packaging of the item, in most cases, determines whether the item is included in the tax exemption. For example, items packaged/labeled as “cellophane tape” are exempt, but items packaged/labeled as “masking tape” are taxable. Correction pens, although labeled as pens, are like other correction fluids, tapes, etc., and are taxable.
Does the $50.00 tax exemption apply to the first $50.00 of a book or an item of clothing being purchased? In other words, if the selling price of a book or a clothing item is $55.00, is the first $50.00 exempt from sales tax?
No. The tax exemption applies to items selling for $50.00 or less. If an item sells for more than $50.00 ($55.00 in this example), tax is due on the entire selling price.
Does the $10.00 tax exemption apply to the first $10.00 of school supply item being purchased? In other words, if the selling price of a school supply item is $12.00, is the first $10.00 exempt from sales tax?
No. The exemption applies to school supply items selling for $10.00 or less. If an item sells for more than $10.00 ($12.00 in this example), tax is due on the entire selling price.
Can I purchase 3 shirts each costing $35 at the same time and have each shirt be exempt from tax? Must I purchase each shirt separately to get the tax break?
Yes, you can purchase more than one item at a time on the same invoice. You do not have to purchase each item separately to get the tax break. The exemption is based on the sales price of each item, not the total sales amount on an invoice. Every eligible item of clothing with a sales price of $50.00 or less sold during the tax exempt period will be exempt from sales tax. Similarly, every qualified school supply item with a sales price of $10.00 or less sold during the tax exempt period will be exempt from sales tax.
Is there a maximum number of items I may purchase tax-exempt in one day or during the exemption period?
No. The exemption is based upon the sales price of the item, not the total sales amount on an invoice. Every qualifying item of clothing with a selling price of $50.00 or less, and every qualifying school supply item with a selling price of $10.00 or less, bought during the exemption period will be exempt from sales tax.
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