Florida Sales Tax Holiday May 29 – June 4, 2020

Florida is having a sales tax holiday in 2020 – actually two of them. The first is the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. The second is the Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday, typically held in August. (The Florida Department of Revenue hasn’t issued any information about that one yet.)

This is a reminder that if you are in or near Florida, and getting low on batteries, bungee cords, coolers, tarps, portable generator(s?), or several other items listed in the link below, you can save the sales tax by waiting until the week of May 29 to stock up.

Here is the link:


A Lack of Preparation Story

During Hurricane Irma in 2017, when it looked like the storm was likely going up the Atlantic coast, my husband and I got double-busy with client appointments who wanted to squeeze in before it hit. We got caught up in the work and ignored ourselves. I didn’t fill up my car, and we didn’t check our stock of Coleman stove propane canisters. By the time the forecast shifted, there was no gas – for the car, for the stove – of any kind, anywhere. At least I had half a tank in the car (which I couldn’t drive anywhere because of fallen trees for a few days anyway). 

Irma left us without power for 7 days. Cooking on a tiny charcoal grill in the backyard got old quickly. After 3 days, when the charcoal started getting low, the temperature inside climbed to 83 with humidity of 100, and the frozen fish was rotting, we called it quits and found a hotel with electricity that had managed to reopen.

For a 52-year-old Florida native whose job title includes the word “planner,” it felt like I should have known better.

Lessons Learned

Next time I will pay attention to all the strings on the spaghetti model, not just the ones in the middle. I will be prepared to either evacuate early (we couldn’t with Irma due to a frail family member) or hunker down and have a hotel backup.

The sales tax waiver is both an incentive and a message some of us, like me, need to hear repeatedly – disasters of all different sorts happen. The least we can do is stock up on the basics.

Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson, CFP® runs an hourly and fee-for-service financial planning practice virtually from her Tampa Bay, Florida office. She also works with clients throughout the U.S. (except Texas) interested in retirement and tax planning advice without product sales or investment management. Holly is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch."

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