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Back-to-school tax-free holiday starts today

By Staff | Aug 2, 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 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.

JC Penny Coralwood Shopping Center Manager Angela Hamer said to celebrate the tax-free holiday the store is providing bonus bucks coupons. Customers who spend $50 between Aug. 2 and Aug. 5 will earn $10 right away.

“They get the bonus bucks back right away within 5 to 10 minutes. They can use it as soon as it appears,” Hamer said.

Customers who have a JC Penny credit card will receive an extra 20 percent off their purchase, while customers using other forms of payment will receive an additional 15 percent off.

“We are anticipating it to be a large crowd,” Hamer said. “We invite everyone to come out to our store. We have great selections for them.”

A customer can purchase a whole outfit at the store, including uniforms. And if the customer does not see what they are looking for, Hamer said they can look for it online.

JC Penny will have normal business hours during tax free weekend.

Bealls Stores is partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Florida during tax-free weekend by donating a percentage of sales from the juniors, guys and kids departments.

“With tax-free weekend almost upon us, we are excited to once again support the local Boys & Girls Clubs chapters throughout Florida. We love providing an opportunity for our guests to help us impact their local Boys & Girls Clubs organizations while shopping,” said Matt Beall, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer for Bealls Stores, Inc. in a prepared statement.

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 atfloridarevenue.com/backtoschool.