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Tax-free back-to-school shopping in Florida

Stock up on school supplies during Florida's tax-free weekend.
Stock up on school supplies during Florida's tax-free weekend.
Tania Cowling

It’s that time again to save a few dollars when doing some back-to-school shopping with your children. According to Florida News dated July 30, 2014, this coming weekend August 1 – 3, 2014, the sales tax will be omitted on certain purchases.

So whether your kids need clothing, shoes, or school supplies, this weekend is the time to stock up. The price limit for tax-free shopping has been raised to $100, an additional $25 from last year. So, this is definitely the time to organize drawers and closets to see what your children need for this upcoming school year. And, don’t forget to donate good usable items to your local charities. Be a sensible shopper during this tax-free time frame – do not buy things you do not need. And remember, that there are sales on back-to-school needs at other times, not just the tax-free week. Sometimes you can find better bargains down the road.

The amount of sales tax varies from county to county. In Broward and Palm Beach County the sales tax amount is six-percent. And, this tax exemption applies to both retail and online merchants. This would be the time to research stores to see if they also offer store coupons or a BOGO (buy one get one free) for specific items you may need. Compare items from store to store for the best price. Store coupons do not affect the dollar limit of $100, but manufacturers coupons will.

Electronics, such as computers, will be tax-exempt to the first $750 of the sales price. The rest will incur tax charges. But no matter how you look at it – there is a savings to parents during this week.

This tax-exempt weekend is for Florida residents, although it’s sometime tough to know who is a resident or not when using cash in stores. But in hotels, theme parks, and airports tax will be charged.

There are so many items that are part of this back-to-school shopping spree, there is not enough room to list them. Go to this website for a complete list of tax-free and taxable items in Florida along with FAQ on this issue. Check this list carefully as some products are not tax exempt in Florida such as certain sporting goods and even musical instruments. Downloading this list and taking it with you to the stores is a wise decision.