Sales tax holiday arrives this weekend, shorter than last year

Parents across Florida shopping for the upcoming school year get a smaller, shorter back-to-school sales tax holiday than last year. The Florida 2016 Sales Tax Holiday is only this weekend as legislators rejected Gov. Rick Scott’s plan for ten full days.

Florida state officials also recently voted to cut allowances on clothing, shoes, computers, and dates for tax break, as the “holiday” kicks off this coming Friday at 12:01 a.m. and will last the entire weekend. Last year’s back to school tax holiday lasted 10 days.

photo/ Flash Alexander via pixabay
photo/ Flash Alexander via pixabay

Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday is set to run from 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7.

Shoppers won’t have to pay state or local sales taxes on clothes worth $60 or less and on school supplies worth $15 or less. That’s a sizable drop from last year, when shoppers could buy clothing worth $100 or less without paying taxes.

Another major change for this year is that legislators eliminated computers from the tax break.

“This bill will not only give Florida families an important back-to-school sales tax holiday, but it will also permanently eliminate the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment so companies like Novolex can invest more money in growing their business and creating new jobs,” Scott said in the press release back in April. “We will continue to do all we can to cut more taxes and support economic growth so Florida can become first for jobs.”

Scott signed this watered down version of the bill with an announced jobs plan from Novolex, a maker of plastic bags.

Regardless of the number of days, the Florida Retail Federation says the tax holiday provides an economic boost to retailers.

“We look forward to the savings that consumers will enjoy and the increased sales for retailers during the anticipated back-to-school sales tax holiday shopping weekend,” Florida Retail Federation President and CEO Randy Miller said in a release.

The tax holiday “most definitely” is a big help for parents and others who want to save money on school supplies, said Geneva Hayes, office manager for the Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s Hopewell Child Development Center in Avon Park.

“A lot of people take advantage of that” holiday, she said in an interview with Highlands Today. “I see a lot of people shopping for school supplies on those days, and I used to do that with my kids.”

Hayes said local community activists will partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Highlands County to conduct a back-to-school supply drive on Aug. 6 at the RCMA facility, 100 Ernest E. Sims St.

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