Back-to-school sales tax holiday just around the corner

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The following is a guest post from Greg Giordano, senior legislative aide to Senator Mike Fasano.

One of the mainstays of each legislative session is how lawmakers will act to improve the business climate of the state. Cutting taxes on individuals and its impact on the economy go hand-in-hand with the concept of “economic development.” Approximately $200 million in tax credits and exemptions were allocated for the current fiscal year.

“The 2012-2013 fiscal year budget hovers around $70 billion dollars,” Senator Fasano states. “The vast majority of tax credits and exemptions in the coming year will be enjoyed by companies. Unfortunately, relatively few dollars have been allocated to help the average taxpayer get through these tough economic times. At the very least the state’s most family-friendly tax break will soon return to be enjoyed by those who need school clothing and supplies.”

The most anticipated tax program for consumers is each summer’s sales tax holiday on back-to-school items. This annual program allows individuals and families to purchase clothing, shoes, textbooks and school supplies tax free from August 3- 5. Many families wait until this time of year to purchase these items due to the savings they receive by not paying sales tax.

During this three day period state sales tax will not be collected on clothing, wallets, or bags, including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs, and diaper bags (excluding briefcases, suitcases, and other garment bags) having a sales price of $75 or less per item. Clothing is defined in law more specifically as any article of wearing apparel intended to be worn on or about the human body, excluding watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, or handkerchiefs. Additionally, sales tax will not be collected on footwear (excluding skis, swim fins, roller blades and skates).

A whole host of school supplies such as paper, tape, scissors, etc. which have a sales price of $15 or less per item, are also exempt from sales tax. While the sales tax will not be collected in most retail establishments, the tax holiday does not apply to items purchased in a theme park or entertainment complex.

“I hope that as Florida’s economic condition improves, future sales tax holidays, and other tax breaks to help individuals and families, will become the rule rather than the exception,” Senator Fasano states. “Until then I encourage every Floridian to take advantage of the savings they may enjoy when shopping during this back-to-school sales tax holiday season.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.