Back to school

Tax-free weekend begins Friday

 

bchandani@MiamiHerald.com

Classes don’t start for two weeks, but parents already face a tough assignment: Shopping for back-to-school gear without busting the budget. This weekend’s Florida sales-tax holiday offers relief.

Friday through Sunday, shoppers are spared sales tax on clothing priced up to $75 per item and school supplies up to $15 per item. For the first time, computers and related accessories costing less than $750 per item also qualify.

As in years past, many stores will also offer additional discounts — buy-one, get-one deals are popular — along with coupons and sales that can effectively drop prices by half. Such deals will help stretch the estimated average $635 expenditure per child, down from last year’s $689, according to the National Retail Federation.

Knowing which items qualify is key. The Florida Department of Revenue has created a QR code for quick access to the list of exempt and taxable items.

Costs

•  Clothing must cost less than $75 per item.

•  School supplies must cost less than $15 per item.

•  Computers and accessories must cost less than $750 per item.

Rules

•  Items sold as a unit — such as a pair of shoes — cannot be split up to qualify for the tax exemption.

• Each item purchased must fall beneath the price limit. Buy-one, get-one and other discounted items cannot be averaged to qualify.

Qualified

• Clothes

• Wallet

• Handbags, backpacks, diaper bags

• Shoes

• Lunchboxes

• Binders, notebooks, pens

• Computers, tablets, keyboards, routers, printers, modems

• E-readers

• Non-recreational software

Yes

•  Gift certificates used for payment

•  Store coupons

•  Layaway, provided the contract and deposit are made during the tax holiday

•  Mail order and online purchases

Excluded

• Books

• Gift certificates

• Briefcases

• Suitcases/garment bags

• Sports gear

• Watches

• Jewelry

• Umbrellas

• Rental items

• Staplers, printing paper

• Cellphones

• Video games and recreational software

• Digital cameras, televisions

No

•  Purchase of gift certificate

•  After-purchase rebates to qualify items

•  Repairs or alterations

Returns and exchanges

•  Exchanges for the same item in a different size or color after the tax holiday will not be taxed.

•  Exchanges for different items after the tax holiday are taxable.

More information

• http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/tips/pdf/tip13a01-04.pdf

•  Additional discounts: Check newspapers for information about store sales.

•  Check o nline sites like www.retailmenot.com/deals/backtoschool/

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