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‘Sales Tax Holiday’ to begin Friday

By Staff | Aug 11, 2011

Families will have an opportunity to save money on sales tax when purchasing items for school this weekend as Florida’s Sales Tax Holiday begins Friday.

Although the Sales Tax Holiday began in 1998 for Florida residents, it was not offered in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009. In the past, the “holiday” was offered for as many as 9 days in a row to as few as three days.

This year the three-day tax-exempt event will be held from Aug. 12-14. It includes eligible items of clothing, footwear and certain accessories that are price marked at $75 or less, along with certain school supplies for $15 or less.

Both price ranges were increased from the previous year. Last year the event included tax exemptions for certain clothing, footwear and accessories that were price marked at $50 or less, school supplies that were marked $10 or less, along with books that were $50 or less.

A list of all exempt items can be found at www.myflorida.com/dor.

Brian Mangan, Mariner High School principal, said he put out the same approach the district did to his teaching staff for the first week of school. The approach was to give students and their families an extra week to purchase their school supplies because the sales tax event was scheduled to be held the week after school began.

“If they don’t have their supplies, we will not make an issue about it,” he said about the first week of school.

Mangan said the savings during the Tax Free Holiday could be a pretty nice chunk of change for the pockets of parents. He said they wanted to make sure they provided the parents with the opportunity to take advantage of what Florida affords them in saving money for back- to-school supplies.

Some students have already purchased supplies that were listed on their syllabus, Mangan said, while other students are working with some bare essentials until they can purchase more supplies this weekend.

The supplies for each class differs due to what the teacher has found to work in their classroom, he said.

The first few days of school so far has been a success for Mangan and his students. He said the students seemed pretty excited about returning to school early this year.

The two-week early start, Mangan believes, is a good thing due to the semester ending before winter break, along with students graduating earlier, which will give them the chance to take college summer school classes.

He says he sees the long-term benefits of students returning to school early.

Wink FM, Wink TV and Lee County Public Schools have joined forces once again to help families in need of school supplies this weekend during the 2011-2012 Stuff the Bus event.

Joe Donzelli, Lee County School District spokesman, said this is the third year they have held the event.

The event will be held in front of the Target Superstore, 13711 S. Tamiami Trail, on the corner of U.S. 41 and Daniels Parkway on Saturday, Aug. 13.

The Stuff the Bus event is scheduled during the holiday, so families can take advantage of the tax holiday while helping others.

The district is looking for donations of traditional back-to-school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, pens, loose-leaf paper, crayons and colored pencils.

The supplies that are gathered from the event are given to student services for distribution.

“We gather the supplies and then student services works to identify the schools where the supplies will be distributed.” Donzelli said.