Florida families can purchase many back-to-school items tax free starting July 25

Palm Beach Post | By John Henderson, The Gainesville Sun | July 18, 2022

Parents can save big bucks on back to school supplies for this coming year by taking advantage of an upcoming state sales tax holiday and developing a strategy for buying the items, officials said.

The Florida Department of Revenue has put out a detailed list of what back to school items can be purchased without paying sales taxes.

Consumers can purchase qualifying school supplies exempt from tax during the 2022 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, which begins on July 25 and extends through Aug. 7.

Event staffers arrange backpacks on tables during the 22nd annual Stop the Violence Back to School Rally on July 31, 2021 at Citizens Park.

Items that are exempt during the holiday include:

  • Clothing, footwear, and accessories selling for $100 or less per item;
  • School supplies selling for $50 or less per item;
  • Learning aids and jigsaw puzzles with a sales price of $30 or less; and,
  • Personal computers and related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use with a sales price of $1,500 or less.

“Taking advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday is one way to make reductions in back-to-school stake supplies, as needed, purchasing only the essentials so that income equals expenses plus savings,” says Jenny Rodriguez, one of several UF/IFAS Extension agents throughout the state specializing in family and consumer sciences.

“If you’re not sure where to begin, consider the following money management strategies to help manage your finances,” she said.

Besides taking advantage of the sales tax holiday, Rodriguez outlined other strategies families can implement to keep costs down when shopping for school supplies throughout the summer.

  • Take inventory of your stock supplies at home first. Often, families already have many of the school supplies their kids need at home. Look for highlighters, pens, pencils, notebooks, and other school supplies saved up from prior years before buying more of the same.
  • Look for weekly deals on select products. If purchasing supplies for more than one child, parents can also seek out weekly deals that highlight a small handful of products each week, sometimes as low as 25 cents.
  • Avoid using store credit cards. Carrying a balance on a high-interest card can easily exceed savings of the initial discount the store offered.
  • Swap school supplies and spread the savings. Trade items with other families such as a surplus of supplies, kids’ clothing, shoes, and accessories. 
  • Consider shopping second-hand through places like Offerup.com, Goodwill, Salvation Army and thrift stores.

Learning Aids have been added to the tax-free list this year. 

No tax is due on the sale or purchase of any learning aid or jigsaw puzzle with a sales price of $30 or less. This exemption does not apply to sales of learning aids or jigsaw puzzles within a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport. 

“Learning aids” means flashcards or other learning cards, matching or other memory games, puzzle books and search-and-find books, interactive or electronic books and toys intended to teach reading or math skills, and stacking or nesting blocks or sets. 

But there is also clothing and accessories that don’t qualify for the tax exemption, such as: 

  • Jewelry and watches 
  • Cosmetic bags 
  • Rented clothing or footwear
  • Roller blades
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