Email insights: Rick Scott reminds voters his sales tax holiday is this weekend

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With a new school year — and election — approaching, Gov. Rick Scott wants to remind Floridians of the upcoming sales tax holiday he signed into law for supplies, clothing, computers and accessories.

The 2014 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3.

“During this sales-tax holiday families will be able to save money on school supplies and other back-to-school items that will set students up for success in the upcoming school year,” Scott said in a statement released Tuesday. “We are proud to offer this sales-tax holiday as it will result in direct savings for Florida families as they prepare for the school year.”

Scott signed legislation in May to reenact the three-day back to school sales tax-free holiday as part of a massive election-year tax cut package.

The holiday exempts sales taxes on the list of school items such as clothing and footwear of $100 or less per item and on certain school supplies of less than $15 per item.

Florida defines clothing as any “article of wearing apparel intended to be worn on or about the body, excluding watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas and handkerchiefs; and all footwear, except skis, swim fins, roller blades and skates.”

Tax-exempt clothing includes wallets or bags, handbags, backpacks, fanny packs and diaper bags – excluding briefcases, suitcases and other garment bags —  costing $100 or less.

School supplies are:

  • Pens, pencils, erasers, and crayons
  • Notebooks, notebook filler paper, legal pads and binders and construction paper
  • Lunch boxes
  • Markers, folders, poster board, composition books, poster paper
  • Scissors, cellophane tape, glue or paste
  • Rulers, computer disks, protractors, compasses, and calculators

Supplies considered non-exempt include books, computer paper, correction tape, fluid or pens, masking tape, printer paper, staplers and staples.

Tax-exempt status also applies to the first $750 of the sales price of digital tools like personal computers and accessories. This way, the purchase of higher priced items will still get some savings.

“Personal computers” are items and accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

The back-to-school holiday does not apply to sales made within a theme park or entertainment complex, public lodging establishments, or airports.

“The sales tax-free holiday is an excellent opportunity for families to stock up on the supplies their children need for the coming school year,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “I appreciate Governor Scott’s dedication to ensuring families has this much-deserved break.”

On July 1, another tax break for families took effect. Youth bicycle helmets, child restraint systems and booster seats have now been made tax-exempt.

The full list of tax-exempt items during the back-to-school holiday weekend is here.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.