Business

It’s tax-free weekend for back to school — but what you really want isn’t eligible

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, center, chats with employees of LR Uniforms in Miami after Scott held a news conference in their store Wednesday to highlight the Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday. The sales tax holiday is set for Friday through Sunday, Aug. 3-5. But this year Florida lawmakers took technology items, like computers, off the tax-free eligible list.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, center, chats with employees of LR Uniforms in Miami after Scott held a news conference in their store Wednesday to highlight the Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday. The sales tax holiday is set for Friday through Sunday, Aug. 3-5. But this year Florida lawmakers took technology items, like computers, off the tax-free eligible list. AP

Retailers are ready to celebrate Florida’s second busiest shopping “holiday” this weekend as the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday runs Friday through Sunday.

During the three-day weekend, Florida shoppers won’t have to pay the usual sales tax on many items such as clothes, shoes and school supplies.

In Miami-Dade, that means savings of 7 percent, and in Broward, 6 percent.

The tax exemption applies to most school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; also, most clothing and footwear for $60 or less per item.

One change this year: Unlike in 2017, when personal computers and accessories for noncommercial use that sold for $750 or less per item were included, Florida lawmakers excluded technology items like computers, printers, computer and printer paper from this year’s tax free deal.

For those who dread facing the crowds, online purchases qualify if you order before 11:59 p.m. Sunday for immediate delivery, even if the goods arrive after the holiday. Lay-away items — even if the final payment doesn’t occur until after the holiday ends — also count.

According to the Florida Retail Federation’s national partners, the National Retail Federation, the average Florida family is expected to spend $684.79 this “holiday,” which is down slightly from $687.72 last year (maybe because computers aren’t on the bill this year).

Clothes will make up the bulk of back-to-school purchases ($236.90), according to the survey.

Tax-free items eligible this year include most clothing and footwear except for things like swim fins, in-line skates, watches (that’s jewelry) and umbrellas. (Yes, it rains in South Florida at this time of year, but you can buy raincoats, rain hats and ponchos without paying tax on them this weekend.)

Folders, pencils, calculators, notebook paper, crayons, erasers and blank CDs for computers are tax exempt during the 2018 “Back-to-School Tax Holiday” weekend.

In case you were wondering what the No. 1 busiest shopping “holiday” is: It’s Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, according to the Florida Retail Federation.

Sales Tax Holiday Wisconsin.JPG
Norah Johnson, 8, shows her mother Tracy a flexible ruler as they shop for back-to-school supplies on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, at Shopko in West Bend, Wisconsin. The sales tax holiday weekend in Florida runs Aug. 3-5, 2018. John Ehlke AP


For a complete list of exempt and non-exempt items, click here.

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