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Tax holiday for school supplies begins today

The tax holiday applies to clothes and books priced at $50 or less and school supplies priced at $10 or less.

By MARK ALBRIGHT
Published July 22, 2006


The annual statewide tax holiday on some clothes, books and school supplies begins today and runs through July 30.

It gives parents two weekends (and the week in between) to stock up on back-to-school supplies for the kids without paying the statewide 6 percent sales tax or any local sales taxes. The tax holiday applies to clothes and books priced at $50 or less and school supplies priced at $10 or less.

The state government lends its hand to boost sales the following week by forgiving sales tax on many back-to-school items for a nine-day tax holiday that runs July 22-30. Sales taxes range from 6 to 7 percent, depending on the county.

"We've done it often enough that everybody understands the rules,'' said Rene Watters, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Revenue. "Nothing's really changed from last year.''

Overall, the state is giving up about $39-million in state and local-option taxes.

SALES TAX HOLIDAY

WHEN: Nine days, July 22-30.

WHERE: All Florida retailers except airport, hotel and theme park gift shops.

WHAT'S TAX-EXEMPT: Apparel, footwear, books and many types of accessories priced at $50 or less. Also exempt are school supplies priced at $10 or less.

HOW MUCH DO YOU SAVE? 6 or 7 percent sales tax per item.

SALES TAX HOLIDAY

IS THERE A LIMIT? No. But the exemption is tied to the item's purchase price. So a $50 shirt is tax-free. A $50.01 one is not.

MUST IT BE USED FOR SCHOOL? No. The exemption is for any purchase. But lawmakers tailored the exemptions for what could be school-related purchases. A book bag is tax-free. A garment bag is not. Books are tax-exempt. But magazines, comic books and crossword puzzle books are not. Clothes are exempt, but jewelry, umbrellas and most sports equipment remains taxable. So a baseball glove is taxable, a leather glove used for warmth is not. An athletic shoe is exempt, but not if comes with cleats.

HOW ABOUT GIFT CARDS? They are tax-exempt if cashed in for merchandise before the tax holiday ends to get the savings.

ONLINE OR MAIL ORDER? Tax-exempt if the order is for immediate shipment and placed during the exemption period.

LAYAWAY? Tax-exempt if the customer pays a deposit during the holiday and the retailer segregates the merchandise from regular inventory until the final payment is made.

SOURCE: Florida Department of Revenue