Your guide to Florida's back-to-school tax-free weekend - FOX 13 News

Your guide to Florida's back-to-school tax-free weekend

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

With classes on the cusp of resuming, Florida's sales tax holiday returns this weekend.

Here's what savvy back-to-school shoppers need to know about their 72-hour window to save about seven percent on clothes, school supplies, and computers.

ONE WEEKEND
And one weekend only*

The holiday kicked off Friday, August 1, 2014 at 12:01 a.m. and will end Sunday August 3, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.

That's it. No make-ups. No extensions. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only. Period.

CLOTHING
Up to $100 each

Florida legislators were a little more generous than years past. Garments and accessories are tax free up to $100 each.

In 2013, the exemption stopped at $75 per piece.

SHOES
Up to $100 per pair

Shoes are eligible for the tax exemption. As with clothing, however, only footwear costing less than $100 per pair will ring up tax-free.

PRINTABLE LIST: http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/tips/pdf/tip14a01-04.pdf

SCHOOL SUPPLIES
Up to $15 each

Sales tax will not be charged on items such as pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, and glue. The state set a price limit of $15 per item for this category, but left off items such as staplers and computer paper.

Check the complete list to be sure your purchase applies.

PERSONAL COMPUTERS
First $750

The first $750 of the purchase price will be tax free, provided the computers are for "noncommercial home" use. A year ago, the exemption excluded computers greater than $750.

COMPUTER ACCESSORIES
First $750

Lawmakers were choosy in this category. While USB drives are (finally) tax free, computer bags are still taxable. Batteries and surge protectors are also not eligible for the holiday.

Check the complete list to be sure your purchase applies.

BUYING BOOKS
Unexpected exception

As with previous sales tax holidays, most books will be taxable. Select publications, such as the Bible, are never taxable in Florida.

PRINTABLE LIST: http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/tips/pdf/tip14a01-04.pdf

MOST STORES
But not all

Lawmakers love tourists, but they did not want to give visitors a tax break. So, sales tax will still apply to purchases made in theme parks, entertainment complexes, hotels, and airports.

INTERNET ORDERS
To your door

Sales tax should not be charged on eligible items that are ordered online -- even if those items are delivered after the sales tax holiday ends.

MAXIMIZE DISCOUNTS
Double dip

The state has no qualms with you using coupons or taking advantage of buy-one-get-one-free sales during the sales tax holiday. Use those promotions to your advantage.

Retailers are increasingly competitive in the back-to-school period, so be on the lookout for bargains that are unlikely to repeat themselves during the school year.

* Florida's House and Senate had the option to give us a full week of tax-free back-to-school savings. But they decided against it.

Would you have voted differently? Contact your representative in Tallahassee: http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find

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