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Sales tax holiday under way

By Staff | Aug 7, 2015

Starting today shoppers can keep a little extra cash in their pockets with the tax-free holiday.

The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday kicked off at midnight and will run up through midnight on Aug. 16. During the period, Florida law directs that no sales tax or local option tax – or discretionary sales surtax – will be collected on certain purchases, the Florida Department of Revenue reported.

The purchases eligible for the tax-free holiday include:

* Clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $100 or less per item

* Certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item

* Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories of the first $750 of the sales price, when purchased for non-commercial home or personal use

The holiday does not apply to:

* Any item of clothing selling for more than $100

* Any school supply item selling for more than $15

* Books that are not otherwise exempt

* Rentals or leases of any of these items

* Repairs or alterations of any of these items

* Sales of clothing, school supplies, computers and computer-related accessories in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment or airport

According to the Department of Revenue, no tax is due on any clothing, wallet or bag, including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs and diaper bags. “Clothing” means any article of wearing apparel, including footwear. Not included are briefcases, watches, watch bands, jewelry or handkerchiefs.

Daphne Folsom, manager of the Belk in Cape Coral, said her store is prepared.

“As a company, we carry school-approved uniforms in just about every color polo shirt imaginable, as well as khaki skirts and shorts of the approved length and khaki pants,” she said on Thursday.

“We have all size ranges available for clothing,” Folsom said.

Shoppers will also find a selection of footwear.

“We have some sneakers in,” she said. “We are starting to get a few of our boots in.”

Active wear for adults and youth is available, along with accessories such as costume jewelry.

“We’ve got handbags, crossbody bags, something smaller for children,” Folsom said.

The Department of Revenue reported that “school supplies” means pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, notebooks, notebook paper, legal pads, binders, lunch boxes, construction paper, folders, poster board, composition books, scissors, paste, rulers, computer disks, protractors, compasses and calculators.

Some taxable supplies are computer and printer paper, masking tape, staples and staplers.

For students headed off to college, Belk will offer home goods and more.

“We’ve got sheets for twin beds, and comforter sets for younger kids,” Folsom said.

According to the Department of Revenue, the tax-free “personal computer” term includes any electronic book reader, laptop, desktop, handheld, tablet and tower computer. Items not included are cell phones, video game consoles, digital media receivers and devices not used to process data.

“Personal computer-related accessories” include keyboards, mice or mouse devices, personal digital assistants, monitors, modems, routers and non-recreational software. Items not included are furniture or systems, devices, software or peripherals that are designed or intended primarily for recreational use.

In addition to the tax-free holiday, Belk will have discounts available in-store for shoppers.

“We do have a coupon event going on,” she said.

Through Tuesday, customers will receive $10 off any $40 purchase, $25 off any $100 purchase or $40 off any $150 purchase. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, early birds will get $10 off any $25 purchase.

“We can order anything a customer wants or needs,” Folsom added.

If an item or size is not available, the store can access it and order it for shoppers.

“It can be shipped directly to their home, with no shipping fee,” she said.

Employees have use of iPads to make the online purchases quick and convenient.

“All coupons are applicable,” Folsom said.

The store had a lower than anticipated turnout for last year’s Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday.

“I’m hoping that foot traffic’s going to be excellent this year,” she said.

Employees have been informing customers, fliers have been put up and more.

“We’ve done a lot to get ready for this event,” Folsom said.

For more information about the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday or to view the list of items that are tax-exempt, visit the Florida Department of Revenue’s website online at: dor.myflorida.com.

Belk is at 2342 Surfside Blvd.