What Doesn’t Qualify for Florida’s Back to School Sales Tax Holiday

What doesn’t qualify for Florida’s Back to School Sales Tax Holiday this year? The sales-tax-free dates run from Friday, August 7 to Sunday, August 9. The list of items you can save on is long; more than pencils and paper. Before you think you know what counts, check twice.

Here is the general description of what qualifies:
– “clothing, footwear, and accessories selling for $60 or less”;
– “certain school supplies selling for $15 or less”;
– “and the first $1000 of personal computers and computer-related accessories.”

Read The Fine Print

Before going whole hog with the frequent flyer points at Staples and Apple, you may want to know what actually counts, and what doesn’t, under the three general categories.

You can find all the details in Tax Information Publication #20A01-04, issued 6/24/20.

Following are a few examples.

What counts as “clothing”? Lingerie – yes. Athletic pads – no.

“School supplies”? Backpacks – yes. Briefcases – no.

“Computers”? Tablet – yes. Smartphone – no.

How about payment terms? Layaway – yes. Rain checks and gift cards – no.

All of the above probably make some sense. Yet, other qualifiers/non-starters might make shoppers scratch their heads:

Kindle- Yes. Books- No.
Hunting vests – Yep. Life jackets – Nope.
Snow ski suits – Yeah. Scuba suits – Nah.
Youth bicycle helmet – Uh-huh. Youth motorcycle helmet – Uh-uh.
Rain poncho – Check. Umbrella – Not.
Garden gloves – You got it. Athletic gloves – Not a chance.
Receiving blankets – Yep. Crib blankets – Nope.
Notebook paper – For sure. Computer paper – Not.
Scotch tape – Si si. Masking tape – No no.
Computer batteries – Yes. All other batteries – No.
Blank CD – Ok. Recorded CD – Not ok.
All-in-one printer – Yep. Copy machine – Nope. Fax machine – Nope.
Docking station – Yes. Surge protector – No.
Monitor – You’re in. Television – Sorry.
Bowling shoes, purchased – Strike. Bowling shoes, rented – Gutter ball.
Lab coat – Of course. Hard hat – Are you kidding?
Book bag – Yep. Computer bag – Nope.
Cleats – Score. Skates – Robbed.
Hat – Oui. Wig – No.
Karate gi – Ha! Shin guards – Ouch!

And really,
Bowties – Yes. Masks – No. (ummmm, hello?)

How Did They Derive This List?

A sales tax holiday is a nice way to give families a break and provide economic stimulus. One wonders, though, how these qualifying decisions were made. “Let’s make it necessities only.” Clearly that wasn’t it. “Only things Florida schools can use.” Snow suits rule that one out. Got any ideas? Leave them in the comments below.

Nevertheless, make your list, save up until August 7 and go to town. Or maybe don’t go to town. Maybe work your list from your favorite special shopping chair or couch and wait for the boxes to show up. And leave something nice for the delivery driver, like, I don’t know, a lab coat.

Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson, CFP® has an advice-only, hourly and fee-for-service financial planning practice. She 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." With a fully virtual practice in Seminole, Florida, Holly primarily serves clients located in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater areas. Holly will also work with clients who are a good fit located elsewhere in the United States except Texas.

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