3-day back-to-school sales tax holiday starts

Clothing worth $100 or less tax-free from Friday through Sunday

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The tax free back-to-school weekend is officially underway in Florida.

[READ:  List of tax-free items]

The event began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and lasts through Sunday. Next to the holiday shopping season, Florida's back-to-school sales tax holiday is the biggest.

As a mother of three, Teresa Lopez knows how much the bills can add up when shopping for school.

"The list in school just keeps getting longer and longer and longer of the school supplies you gotta buy," said Lopez.

There are some changes this year to the tax-exempt sales. The tax break now covers clothing and shoes $100 or less. That's up from the $75 or less last year. Also, anyone buying a personal computer and accessories for it, the exemption will apply to the first $750 of the price. For example, if you buy a laptop that costs $1,000, you'll only pay tax on $250.

The savings can make a big difference for many families.  "The best deals.  You get the best bargains.  (You) save some money," said Lopez.

Although the amount saved on items like crayons or notebooks will be small, the tax can add up with larger purchases. Consumers buying a computer for $750 would save $52.50 in Lake and Osceola counties, where the sales tax is 7 percent. In Orange County, it's 6.5 percent and in Seminole County the sales tax is 6 percent.

The exemption is available to anyone, regardless if they're shopping for school-age children.  It does not apply to things purchased at theme parks, hotels or airports.  Cell phones, video games and TVs are not included in the event.

In addition to the sales tax-free weekend, many stores are offering additional sales and promotions.

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