Everything you need to know about Florida's tax-free weekend

Tax free weekend runs from Aug. 2-6

By Gabriella Nuñez - Multimedia Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Back-to-school season is quickly approaching, which means Florida’s Sales Tax Holiday weekend is just around the corner.

When the clock ticks to 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 2, all tax-free items are fair game online and in stores. Floridians across the state will be able to save on the 6 percent state tax and local tax until 11:59 p.m. Aug. 6.

Even if you’re not a student or a parent getting your children ready for school, it’s a great time to save on items like clothes, computers and school/office items.

Here’s a guide on everything you need to know about Florida’s tax-free weekend.

Tax-free, with a limit.

Clothes
A plethora of items will be exempt from sales taxes throughout the weekend, every purchase has a limit. Clothing and apparel items must cost less than $60. That means a pair of $30 shoes would be tax-exempt, whereas $100 pair of jeans would be subjected to taxes. Multiple items amounting past $60 will not be charged sales tax. So you can buy three pairs of $30 shoes and still save. 

School supplies
School or office supplies also have a per-item cost limit of $15. That means if you want a fancy agenda for $20, you’ll have to pay sales tax. If you want two agendas that cost $10 each, you won’t be paying sales tax.

Computers and computer accessories
Personal computers and related accessories will be tax-free this weekend. The caveat: each item has to cost $1,000 or less. You will be able to purchase a laptop with a $1,000 price tag, and maybe an extra battery for it and get them both tax free. A laptop costing $1,000.99 will be subjected to the sales tax.

As far as any other spending thresholds, you can buy as many tax-free items you want. These limits exist for per item purchases. If the item doesn’t exceed the threshold, throw it in the basket.

Buying online

iStock Image

Tax-free shopping applies to all transactions that are accepted and confirmed by the retailer, according to Florida’s Department of Revenue

This is good news for those who want to avoid crowded stores. There is a catch though. Shipping and handling charges become part of the sales price of an item even if they’re listed separately.

That means a $59 jacket would increase in price online because of shipping costs. It would no longer be tax exempt because it exceeds the $60 per item cost for clothing. 

Coupons and discounts

If you’re an extreme coupon user, tax-free weekend will be a fun challenge to save even more.

Coupons and discounts do apply during the sales tax holiday. The tax exemption applies to the total paid to the retailer, not the sticker price. 

Coupons or discounts can be your saving grace for those pesky price limitations. For instance, if you buy a $65 pair of shoes, it wouldn’t be tax free because of the $60 per item cost limit. If you have a 10 percent off coupon, the price would drop down to less than $60, and those shoes will be tax-free. 

Most stores will also have some sort of sale. It would be a good idea to search promotional codes, cut down coupons, or check out the best deals to do your shopping to get the most out of this tax-free weekend.

Layaway and returns

You can still put items on layaway and get them tax exempt. According to Florida’s Department of Revenue, you have to put the item on layaway during the tax-free period to get it tax exempt or pick it up after the tax-free weekend.

As far as returns or exchanges, you won’t be charged sales taxes either.

That means if you buy a pair of shoes for your child during tax-free weekend, but then discover they don’t fit, you can still exchange them after the weekend and avoid the sales tax. 

However, if you make a return and receive store credit, when you go to claim the credit that purchase will be subjected to sales taxes.

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Good to know tax-free items

As mentioned before, a number of items will be tax-exempt throughout the weekend. Beyond student uniforms and supplies, here are a few items that you may not think would be tax-exempt.

Clothing and accessories

Diapers, diaper bags, and even adult diapers will be tax exempt throughout the tax-free weekend. Costumes, martial arts uniforms and religious clothing also fall under the tax-free clothing umbrella. For the more active shopper, fitness clothing, leggings, tights, and leotards are items that may be used more for after-school activities, but are also tax-free.

Below you’ll find a photo of some examples of tax-free clothing and accessory items.

School supplies

The list is pretty straight forward. Notebooks and notebook paper make the cut, along with scissors. All types of pencils are also exempt, including packs of mechanical pencils. There are also a list of art supplies like colored pencils, construction paper, glue (stick and liquid) that qualify.

Below you’ll find a photo of some examples of tax-free school supply items.

Computer and computer-related accessories

Relatively new items are on the tax-free weekend list as electronics become more popular in the classroom. Besides computers, there are other electronics you can purchase sans tax like tablets, e-readers, printers and modems. 

Accessories like blank CDs, car adapters for laptops and jump drives also qualify.

Below you’ll find a photo of some examples of tax-free computer-related items.

For a complete list of items that qualify for Florida’s tax-free weekend, click here.

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