There’s only about 4 more weeks of long, lazy summer days ahead of students in Marion County. The first day of school is August 22, 2011. Many parents are likely looking forward to that first day back to school, and here’s another thing for parents to look forward to: Tax free school shopping.
While it isn’t done every year, Florida has reinstated the tax free weekend for back to school shopping this year. From 12:01 a.m. on August 12, 2011 until 11:59 p.m. on August 14, 2011, parents can shop for clothing, shoes and school supplies and pay no sales tax on these items. Sales tax in Florida is 6% of the purchase price of each item.
When purchasing clothing or shoes, keep in mind that the sales tax exemption only applies to items that are $75 or less, and school supplies only applies to those that are $15 or less.
The Florida Legislature is defining clothing as “any article of wearing apparel, including footwear (except skis, swim fins, roller blades, and skates), intended to be worn on or about the human body. It also applies to wallets or bags, including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs and diaper bags. It does not apply to briefcases, suitcases or other garment bags, and it does not include watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, or sporting equipment.
School supplies included in the tax holiday 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.
The sales tax exemption also applies to diapers, both cloth and disposable, and baby clothes.
Many parents take advantage of the tax holiday to stock up on school supplies to get them through the entire year, or clothing to use as gifts at Christmas, or for birthdays.
If you really want to save money during this tax free weekend, compare prices between several stores so that you find the best price. Use coupons when you can. Buy ahead: if you know your son will outgrow his jeans by Christmas, buy a few pairs a size or two larger than he needs right now. But don’t buy things that you don’t really need just because you can buy them without paying the sales tax. 6% isn’t that much of a savings if you’re spending money on something completely unnecessary. Check sales flyers before you shop: you may find some great deals, and some retailers will even have special sales just for the tax free holiday.
You can see a list that the Florida Legislature has created identifying items that are tax free and items that will still be taxed at this site. This list is not all inclusive, but it does give you a general idea of what you can expect.