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Take advantage of sales tax "holiday" to stock up on hurricane supplies

Take advantage of tax holiday to stock up on hurricane supplies
Take advantage of tax holiday to stock up on hurricane supplies 00:52

TALLAHASSEE - Tropical Storm Idalia, expected to become a major hurricane before making landfall this week, is a reminder to stock up on your hurricane supplies and now is a great time to do it.

We are in the state's second "disaster preparedness" sales tax holiday of the year. It runs through September 8th.

It's extremely important that everyone in our community is prepared for hurricane season," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. "This tax holiday provides a real opportunity for many families with tight budgets to be able to afford critical supplies that could keep them safe during and after a disaster."    

This is the first year there have been two disaster-preparedness tax holidays. The first period was from May 27 to June 9, around the June 1 start of the hurricane season. State economists have projected the two periods will save shoppers $143.8 million in sales taxes.

Florida lawmakers this spring passed a wide-ranging tax bill (HB 7063) that included a series of tax holidays. That included a three-month holiday, dubbed "Freedom Summer," which has provided sales-tax exemptions on recreation and outdoor items and entertainment events. The Freedom Summer holiday will end Sept. 4.

Examples of the Freedom Summer tax-free items include children's athletic equipment that costs $100 or less, kayaks that cost $500 or less and tickets to concerts and sporting events.

State economists projected the Freedom Summer holiday would lead to $229.9 million in tax savings. But Shalley said more advertising might be needed if the holiday is revived in the future.

"We don't have data back yet on the summer holiday, but I think it has fallen a little bit flat," Shalley said. "We certainly have room for improvement, with regard to getting information out there, educating the consumer and educating the retailer. It's a super well-intended holiday. It has some great, expansive saving opportunities."

Meanwhile, a seven-day "tool time" tax holiday will start Sept. 2 to coincide with the Labor Day weekend and offer sales-tax exemptions on a variety of goods, such as tools and work boots. The tool-time holiday is expected to result in $15.4 million in savings.

During the disaster-preparedness holiday, here are some examples of items that will be tax free:

  • Ice packs that cost $20 or less
  • Batteries that cost $50 or less
  • Non-electric food coolers that cost $60 or less
  • Carbon monoxide detectors that cost $70 or less
  • Tarpaulins that cost $100 or less
  • Portable generators that cost $3,000 or less

During the tool-time tax holiday - with its name borrowed from the 1990s sitcom "Home Improvement" - here are some examples of items that will be tax free:

  • Work gloves that cost $25 or less
  • Hand tools and safety glasses that cost $50 or less
  • Tool boxes that cost $75 or less
  • Tool belts and hard hats that cost $100 or less
  • Work boots that cost $175 or less
  • Power tools that cost $300 or less

Full lists of items that are tax free during the holidays can be found online HERE

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