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Economy / Business

Tax-Free Shopping Starts Friday, Includes Computers Up To $1,000

school supplies
Kerry Sheridan
/
WUSF
School supplies under $15 are not taxed in Florida from Aug 2-6, 2019

It's back-to-school shopping time for many families, and the annual sales tax holiday in Florida is different from years past. It runs Friday, August 2 to Tuesday, August 6, and includes computer and tablets up to $1,000 for the first time.

 
Shoppers have an extra couple of tax-free days, compared to last year when the holiday spanned three days. That extra time should help alleviate the stress of fighting crowds.
 
“From a consumer’s perspective it allows them to spread out their shopping over more days, so you are not rushing in on a Saturday and Sunday along with the rest of Florida,” said James Miller of the Florida Retail Federation.

School supplies under fifteen dollars and clothes under sixty dollars are included in the tax holiday.

“We feel that Floridians need this tax relief especially when you consider the average K through 12 parent spends upwards of a seven hundred dollars per student and the average parent of a college student pays upwards of a thousand dollars. Not having to pay six or seven percent sales tax can make a big difference,” said Miller.

Sales tax holidays like this have been around for two decades.

But one of the big misconceptions is that it is only for back-to-school shoppers, or people with school-age children, said Miller.

“This is for people of all ages. This is for business professionals who may be looking to get a new shirt, a pair of shoes, some socks. Maybe a senior citizen looking to get some new clothes. College students, kids. If it is a purchase you’ve been waiting to buy for a little awhile, this is the weekend to do it,” said Miller.

Certain desktop and laptop computers, along with tablets, are tax-free. However, iPhones and video game consoles are not. A full list of what is tax-free and what is not, can be found here.

Miller urged shoppers to pay close attention to the price limits per item. 

“If you are buying a laptop that is $999, you don't have to pay sales tax on it. But if you are buying a laptop that is $1,001, then you have to pay sales tax on the whole $1,001,” he said.

The tax holiday is projected to save shoppers 41.7 million dollars statewide.

Kurt Wenner of Florida Tax Watch, a non-profit watchdog group, says the tax holiday is generally good for shoppers. And it doesn't make a meaningful dent in the state’s 90-billion-dollar budget.

“You can’t tie it directly to reduced spending on anything. Forty million dollars is a lot of money but relative to the state budget, it is just a blip.”