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100 West Cypress Creek Road, Suite 930

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

Office (954) 761-3700

Fax (954) 761-1004

8875 Hidden river PKWY, Suite 230

Tampa, FL 33637

Office (813) 775-2131

Fax (866) 388-3029

3500 Financial Plaza, Suite 330

Tallahassee, FL 32312

Office (850) 250-3830

Fax (866) 388-3029


Florida Sales Tax Back To School Holiday - Aug 4-6th

Two New Tax Holidays for 2017

When I heard there were two new holidays passed by the legislature, I was hoping the state had finally legitimized “Lawyer Appreciation Day,” day off included, or at the very least extended “Bring your Dog to Work Day” to all employers, including Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. Needless to say, when I discovered these new holidays were sales tax holidays, even as a tax attorney, I found myself somewhat disappointed.

But even if the Back-to-School sales tax holiday doesn’t apply to me anymore (FIU Law class of 2015!) and the Disaster Preparedness sales tax holiday seems remote (like many South Floridians, I live under the staunch belief that no storm could possibly break my hurricane impact windows), these are, in fact, fantastic programs for the state.

The first holiday comes soon. From 12:01am on August 4, 2017, through 11:59pm August 6, 2017, certain clothing, school supplies, personal computers, and personal computer-related accessories are exempt from sales tax. Any attorneys or CPAs thinking of sneaking in a new briefcase under the backpack exemption? Think again; they are explicitly excluded from the exemption. Furthermore, items must have a sales price of $60 or less per item. Good luck finding a new suit at that price! However, adults may still benefit with their children if they purchase a computer for less than $750. For more information, view section 624.5105(3)(e)(Section 52), Florida Statutes, at the end of this article.

Meanwhile, the disaster preparedness holiday has already passed. Effective as of May 25, 2017, from 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2017, through 11:59 p.m. on June 4, 2017, ten items are explicitly listed as exempt from tax. However, all of these items are capped at a certain dollar amount. The 8 days of notice that taxpayers had for this holiday surely means that most people missed it. However, if this continues in future years, taxpayers could certainly benefit during the financially (and otherwise) stressful time of preparing for a hurricane or other disaster. While some exempt items won’t make much of a difference, such as reusable ice selling for $10 or less, there is the exemption on portable generators up to $750 that may incentive those weighing the cost/benefit to lean towards purchasing one. Finally, certain commonly used batteries being sold for $30 or less have an exemption as well. Everyone should enjoy a little bit of a break on batteries, which are expensive for what they are and always seem to get lost in the kitchen (or is that just my problem?).

Jokes, aside, this move by the state, though small on the individual level, certainly comes with a high price tag to it. The policy of exempting school items from tax at the beginning of the school year is extremely important for low-income families who struggle to get all the materials and clothing for children at the end of summer. I do not have kids myself, but from what I hear, they need new clothes often and are given a long list of items to obtain by the first day of school each year. What I can imagine is that those who don’t have these things may start the year off on the wrong foot with teachers and peers. It’s a great policy of the state to provide holidays like this and others in years past to ease the burden of this on parents.

Similarly, 64% of Americans could not come up with $1,000 of cash in an emergency. If that many Americans can’t handle an emergency, they certainly are less likely to pay for the preparation of a potential emergency. However, we all know the preparing in advance is cheaper than paying for the consequences of not preparing at all. The state’s motivation of encouraging people to prepare for disaster is surely a good one. It can help take the burden off taxpayers while similarly encouraging the protection of the state itself. These holidays may not result in time off work or a day with your dog in the office, but they certainly provide a great benefit to the state and the people who need it most: children and those in preparation of disaster. That is something any Floridian can be grateful for.

Jeanette Moffa is an associate attorney of the Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. Ms. Moffa concentrates in the area of State and Local Taxation with a heavy emphasis on sales and use tax. In addition to Florida and multi-state sales and use tax issues, she also works on appellate administrative law cases. When she is not practicing law, she teaches English as an adjunct professor at Broward College. You can read more about Jeanette at her bio here.

624.5105 (3)(e)(Section 52)

Section 52. Clothing, school supplies, personal computers, and personal computer-related accessories; sales tax holiday.—

(1) The tax levied under chapter 212, Florida Statutes, may not be collected during the period from 12:01a.m. on August 4, 2017, through 11:59 p.m. on August 6, 2017, on the retail sale of:

(a) Clothing, wallets, or bags, including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs, and diaper bags, but excluding briefcases, suitcases, and other garment bags, having a sales price of $60 or less per item. As used in this paragraph, the term “clothing” means:

1. Any article of wearing apparel intended to be worn on or about the human body, excluding watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, and handkerchiefs; and

2. All footwear, excluding skis, swim fins, roller blades, and skates.

(b) School supplies having a sales price of $15 or less per item. As used in this paragraph, the term “school supplies” means 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, protractors, compasses, and calculators.

(2) The tax levied under chapter 212, Florida Statutes, may not be collected during the period from 12:01 a.m. on August4,2017, through 11:59 p.m. on August 6, 2017, on personal computers or personal computer-related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use and having a sales price of $750 or less per item. For purposes of this subsection, the term:

(a) “Personal computers” includes electronic book readers, laptops, desktops, handhelds, tablets, and tower computers. The term does not include cellular telephones, video game consoles, digital media receivers, or devices that are not primarily designed to process data.

(b) “Personal computer-related accessories” includes keyboards, mice, personal digital assistants, monitors, other peripheral devices, modems, routers, and nonrecreational software, regardless of whether the accessories are used in association with a personal computer base unit. The term does not include furniture or systems, devices, software, or peripherals that are designed or intended primarily for recreational use.

(c) “Monitors” does not include devices that include a television tuner.

(3) The tax exemptions provided in this section do not apply to sales within a theme park or entertainment complex as defined in s. 509.013(9), Florida Statutes, within a public lodging establishment as defined in s. 509.013(4), Florida Statutes, or within an airport as defined in s. 330.27(2), Florida Statutes.

(4) The tax exemptions provided in this section apply at the option of a dealer if less than 5 percent of the dealer’s gross sales of tangible personal property in the prior calendar year are comprised of items that would be exempt under this section. If a qualifying dealer chooses not to participate in the tax holiday, the dealer must notify the Department of Revenue in writing, by August 1, 2017, of its election to collect sales tax during the holiday and must post a copy of that notice in a conspicuous location at its place of business.

(5) The Department of Revenue may, and all conditions are deemed met to, adopt emergency rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, to administer this section.

(6) For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the sum of $241,200 in nonrecurring funds is appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Revenue for the purpose of implementing this section.

Section 53. Disaster preparedness supplies; sales tax holiday.—

(1) The tax levied under chapter 212, Florida Statutes, may not be collected during the period from 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2017, through 11:59 p.m. on June 4, 2017, on the retail sale of:

(a) A portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less.

(b) A portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weatherband radio selling for $50 or less.

(c) A tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less.

(d) A self-contained first-aid kit selling for $30 or less.

(e) A ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less.

(f) A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less.

(g) A package of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less.

(h) A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less.

(i) A portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage selling for $750 or less.

(j) Reusable ice selling for $10 or less.

(2) The Department of Revenue may, and all conditions are deemed met to, adopt emergency rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54, Florida Statutes, to administer this section.

(3) The tax exemptions provided in this section do not apply to sales within a theme park or entertainment complex as defined in s. 509.013(9), Florida Statutes, within a public lodging establishment as defined in s. 509.013(4), Florida Statutes, or within an airport as defined in s. 330.27(2), Florida Statutes.

(4) For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the sum of $290,580 in nonrecurring funds is appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Revenue for the purpose of implementing this section.

(5) This section is effective upon this act becoming a law.
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