The first of three “tax holidays” for Floridians kicks off on Friday.
This one temporarily suspends taxes on disaster supplies ahead of hurricane season, and runs through June 6.
There will also be the familiar back-to-school tax free week, from July 31-Aug. 9. That one applies to things like clothes, school supplies and taxes off the first $1,000 of the sales price of a computer.
And on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a third one, declaring “freedom” from taxes on some popular summer season items as part of HB 7061, a $200 million bill he signed into law.
Dubbed “Freedom Week,” it aims to encourage spending on recreational and cultural activities in Florida as COVID-19 restrictions disappear.
The novel sales tax holiday will take place from July 1 to July 7. This coronavirus-spawned tax beak applies to a tax break on tickets to arts and cultural events like concerts and theater, and outdoor gear like fishing and camping supplies.
This is just in time for some major concerts coming to the state. For example, the Jonas Brothers have three Florida dates on their itinerary: Jacksonville on Oct. 15, Tampa on Oct. 16 and West Palm Beach on Oct. 17.
So you’ll actually have cultural events to spend some dough on. Who’d have thought?
Here’s a breakdown of all three tax holidays.
Hurricane supplies savings
For the seventh year, hurricane “season” didn’t wait for the calendar. But with the passage of the Freedom Week House bill we’ll be in the midst of hurricane season when some of its savings will have come into play.
From Friday to June 6 you won’t have to pay tax on items like tarps that are $100 or less. Also, no tax on flashlights valued at $40 or less and portable self-powered or two-way or weather-band radios at $50 and less. Ditto gas or diesel fuel tanks at $50 and cheaper. And a package of AA-cell, AAA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt or 9-volt batteries — excluding car and boat batteries — selling for $50 or less.
How Freedom Week works
Now, onto Freedom Week. During July 1-7, skip the tax on the following:
▪ Some culture, please. If you buy tickets or annual passes to concerts, sports events, theatrical events like musicals and plays, museums, a movie shown in a theater, ballets, fairs and festivals and such cultural events that are scheduled to happen before Dec. 31 you won’t have to pay a sales tax.
▪ Get out into the fresh air. Summer brings recreational activities like outdoor camping and fishing and state park visits. With the relaxation of COVID rules many Floridians are expected to take advantage.
The recreational breakdown includes:
▪ Boating and water activity supplies, such as the first $75 of the sales price of life jackets and coolers; the first $50 of the sales price of safety flares; the first $150 of the sales price of water skis, wakeboards, kneeboards, and recreational inflatable water tubes or floats capable of being towed; the first $300 of the sales price of paddleboards and surfboards; the first $500 of the sales price of canoes and kayaks; the first $75 of the sales price of paddles and oars; and the first $25 of the sales price of snorkels, goggles and swimming masks.
▪ Camping supplies means the first $200 of the sales price of tents; the first $50 of the sales price of sleeping bags, portable hammocks, camping stoves, and collapsible camping chairs; and the first $30 of the sales price of camping lanterns and flashlights.
▪ Fishing supplies means the first $75 of the sales price of rods and reels, if sold individually, or the first $150 of the sales price if sold as a set; the first $30 of the sales price of tackle boxes or bags; and the first $5 of the sale price of bait or fishing tackle, if sold individually, or the first $10 of the sales price if multiple items are sold together.
The tax breaks don’t include supplies used for commercial fishing purposes.
▪ General outdoor supplies means the first $15 of the sales price of sunscreen or insect repellent; the first $100 of the sales price of sunglasses; the first $200 of the sales price of binoculars; the first $30 of the sales price of water bottles; the first $50 of the sales price of hydration packs; the first $250 of the sales price of outdoor gas or charcoal grills; the first $50 of the sales price of bicycle helmets; and the first $250 of the sales price of bicycles.
▪ Sports equipment means any item used in individual or team sports, not including clothing or footwear, selling for $40 or less.
The tax exemptions don’t apply to sales within a theme park or entertainment complex or within a public lodging establishment or airport.
DeSantis urged Floridians to use “Freedom Week” to “celebrate their freedom” by comparing the Sunshine State to others with more restrictive COVID-19 policies, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Said the governor: “If you look around the country we’re a free state. Many of these states are not free states, unfortunately.”
Back to school savings
Finally, the back-to-school tax holiday period from July 31 through Aug. 9 portion of HB 7061 and what it applies toward.
▪ Clothing, wallets, bags, backpacks — but not briefcases, suitcases or garment bags — having a sales price of $60 or less per item. Clothing includes footwear but excludes watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, skis, swim fins and roller blades and skates.
▪ School supplies having a sales price of $15 or less per item. You can use the tax break on things like pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, notebooks, notebook filler paper, legal pads, binders, lunch boxes, construction paper, markers, folders, poster board, composition books, poster paper, scissors, cellophane tape, glue or paste, rulers, computer disks, staplers and staples you use on paper products (not for construction, for example). Also, protractors, compasses, and calculators.
▪ Personal computers or personal computer-related accessories such as the first $1,000 of the sales price of these items.
Personal computers includes electronic book readers, laptops, desktops, handhelds, tablets or tower computers. But the sales tax holiday does not include cellphones, video game consoles, digital media receivers or devices that are not primarily designed to process data.
Personal computer-related accessories include keyboards, the computer mouse, personal digital assistants, monitors, other peripheral devices, modems, routers, and non-recreational software. But computer furniture or systems, devices, software, monitors with a television tuner or peripherals that are designed or intended primarily for recreational use apply.