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Tax-free holiday for back-to-school shopping coming up

By Staff | Aug 1, 2018

Families can keep a little extra cash in their pockets with the tax-free holiday this weekend.

The 2018 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday for the state will run from Aug. 3-5.

During this 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.

Purchases that are eligible for the tax-free holiday include clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item, as well as certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item.

The National Retail Federation reported that this year’s back-to-school spending is expected to reach $82.8 billion, down from $83.6 billion last year. Families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average of $684.79 each – $2.93 less than the 2017 average of $687.72 – for $27.5 billion in total.

“With the economy thriving thanks to tax reform and growing consumer confidence, we expect to see a very strong season,” Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. “College spending is expected to be at its highest level ever, and back-to-school will be one of the three highest years on record. Whether shoppers buy now or wait until the last minute, retailers are ready with everything they need for a successful start of the school year.”

When it comes to shopping, no tax is due on any article of clothing, wallet or bag, such as handbags, backpacks, fanny packs and diaper bags, according to the Department of Revenue. Clothing means any article of wearing apparel, including footwear. Items such as briefcases and watches are not covered.

Some examples of school supplies include pens, pencils, crayons, notebook paper, legal pads, binders, lunch boxes, construction paper, folders, poster board, composition books, scissors and calculators.

Computer and printer paper, masking tape, staples and staplers are taxable items.

The holiday does not apply to:

– Any item of clothing selling for more than $60

– Any school supply item selling for more than $15

– Books that are not otherwise exempt

– Rentals or leases of any eligible items

– Repairs or alterations of any eligible items

– Sales of any eligible items in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment or airport

For Lee County Public Schools, the first day of school is Aug. 10.

For more information about the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday or to view a list of tax-exempt items, visit the Florida Department of Revenue at floridarevenue.com/backtoschool.