Gov. DeSantis signs sweeping taxation law in Ocala

HB 7071′s tax holidays include ‘Freedom week,’ October gas tax break

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 7071 into law Friday morning, which he said amounts to $1.2 billion in tax relief via new exemptions and holidays, including a one-month gas tax break in October.

OCALA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 7071 into law Friday morning, which he said amounts to $1.2 billion in tax relief via new exemptions and holidays, including a one-month gas tax break in October.

The law, which you can read by clicking here, landed on DeSantis’ desk a day prior, along with 16 other bills. The governor said it was the largest tax relief package in Florida’s history.

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“The legislature put together a number of proposals and ended up putting in a really significant thing — so, the tax relief you’re going to see (are) breaks for really critical needs like gas, diapers, disaster supplies, tools for skilled trades, recreational activities, you name it, and so families are going to be able to save for things that really matter for them,” DeSantis said.

The gas tax break is set to take place in October, just ahead of the November elections — a time when Florida lawmakers who pushed for the legislation said fewer tourists would be in the state to take advantage of it. This break will come more than six months after Florida set new records for average gas prices in March.

The tax holidays get under very soon. May will see tax holidays for the purchases of children’s books and disaster preparedness supplies, according to the law.

To see more about each tax holiday, including lists of qualifying items, click here.

“If you want to fortify your property, you’re going to be able to do that tax-free. You know, some of those things, it’s not like you can fortify the property for 50 bucks. You know, this is a significant investment, and so the savings will be meaningful and we encourage Floridians to take advantage of that,” DeSantis said.

The law does more than establish tax holidays, including July’s “Freedom Week,” which is returning for a second year.

It also provides such changes as restrictions to what counties can now require of borrowers, changes to how real estate, agricultural and other properties are assessed, exemptions for some service members deployed overseas and/or in select military operations, exemptions for affordable housing property operators and exemptions on property valued up to $5,000 for people who are widows, widowers, blind and permanently disabled.

Section 14 of the bill discusses the “refund of taxes for residential improvements rendered uninhabitable by a catastrophic event,” defining the term “residential improvement” as real estate used and owned as a homestead, excluding structures “not essential to the use and occupancy of the residential dwelling or house, including, but not limited to, a detached utility building, detached carport, detached garage, bulkhead, fence, or swimming pool, and does not include land.”

Elaine Carr, an Ocala mother who attended the signing event, said she was looking forward to “any little break.”

“I’m super excited that he’s done that for us parents in Florida because, we’re just- we’re struggling, you know, so any little bit can help for sure,” Carr said.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement that the money being used for the tax breaks and holidays came to DeSantis from President Biden and his fellow Democrats.

Here are the tax holidays outlined in the law — as well as what DeSantis said each holiday would save Floridian taxpayers — in the order they will occur:

  • May 14 to Aug. 14- Children’s books ($3.3M)
  • May 28 to June 10- Disaster preparedness ($25.6M)
  • July 1 to 7- “Freedom Week:” Event tickets and recreational equipment ($70.6M)
  • July 1 to June 30, 2023- Energy Star appliances ($78.5M); Children’s diapers ($38.9M); Baby clothes and shoes ($81.5M)
  • July 1 to June 30, 2024- Impact-resistant windows and doors ($442.8M)
  • July 25 to Aug. 7- School supplies, backpacks, clothing and shoes ($100M)
  • Sept. 3 to 9- Tools, other home improvement items ($12.4M)
  • Oct. 1 to 31- Gas tax holiday ($200M)

The sum of the figures above is slightly more than $1.05 billion.

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.