Florida sales tax breaks: school supplies, gas, diapers, more

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Diapers are among the items that will be tax-free in Florida, at least for a while.

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Florida’s legislative session was marked by grueling fights over abortion, transgender issues and other topics of the nation’s “culture wars.”

But one major piece of legislation received bipartisan praise and unanimous votes: a series of temporary tax breaks the state is promoting as its biggest ever.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed the tax package into law, touting first-time sales tax breaks for all sorts of essential and recreational items. The state’s sales tax is 6%, but many of the items are exempt from county sales taxes as well.

“You’re gonna see breaks for really critical needs, like gas, diapers, disaster supplies, tools for skilled trades, recreational activities, you name it,” DeSantis said Friday. “Families are going to be able to save for things that really matter for them.”

Here are the major tax cuts and exemptions lawmakers passed this year, in the order they take effect. For additional details, visit the Florida Department of Revenue’s website.

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There won’t be any Florida state sales on the sale of gasoline, but you have to wait until October. Miami Herald file photo

1. Children’s books: May 14-Aug. 14, 2022

For three months, children’s books, regardless of the price, will be exempt from sales taxes. “Children’s books” are defined as “any fiction or nonfiction book primarily intended for children age 12 or younger.”

2. Disaster preparedness supplies: May 28-June 10, 2022

The state’s annual two-week disaster preparedness tax holiday continues this year, with a slew of items exempt from state and county sales taxes, including:

Flashlights and lanterns are worth $40 or less.

A package of batteries is worth $50 or less.

Coolers are worth $60 or less.

Portable generators are worth $1,000 or less.

Various pet supplies

The Department of Revenue has a full list of items.

3. ‘Freedom Week’ sales tax holiday: July 1-July 7, 2022

For a week, tickets to live sporting and music events, movies, museums, state parks and festivals will be tax-free. So will a variety of outdoor supplies, including:

The first $250 on the sales price of bicycles and outdoor grills.

Various fishing supplies, including reels and rods.

The first $200 spent on tents.

The first $150 spent on residential pool and spa chemicals.

The state has a complete list on its website.

4. Diapers, young children’s clothing, shoes: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023

An idea proposed by Democrats in the Legislature for years, Republicans this year agreed to a one-year sales tax exemption for children’s diapers. Another exemption makes baby and toddler clothing, apparel and shoes primarily intended for children age 5 or younger tax-free during the same period.

5. Impact-resistant windows, doors, garage doors: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2024

For two years, these items will be exempt from sales tax for both commercial and non-commercial use.

6. Energy Star appliances: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023

The following Energy Star-labeled items are exempt from sales tax if they’re purchased for non-commercial use:

Clothes dryers selling for $1,500 or less.

Refrigerators or combination refrigerator/freezers selling for $3,000 or less.

Washing machines selling for $1,500 or less.

Water heaters selling for $1,500 or less.

7. Back-to-school: July 25 — Aug. 7, 2022

Lawmakers renewed the annual sales tax holiday for school supplies this year, with the following exempt items:

Clothing, footwear, and certain accessories with a sales price of $100 or less per item.

Certain school supplies with a sales price of $50 or less per item.

Learning aids and jigsaw puzzles with a sales price of $30 or less.

Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories with a sales price of $1,500 or less, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

More details are available on the state’s website.

8. Skilled worker tools sales tax holiday: Sept. 3-Sept. 9, 2022

This first-time tax holiday applies to the purchase of a variety of tools and supplies, including:

Toolboxes are worth $75 or less.

Work boots selling for $175 or less per pair.

Power tools selling for $300 or less per item.

The complete list of eligible items is on the state’s website.

9. Gas tax suspension: Oct. 1-Oct 31, 2022

To alleviate record-high gas prices, lawmakers this year agreed to suspend collection of the state’s gas tax for a month (notably, the month before the November election, when DeSantis and every legislative seat is up for election).

Suspending collection of the gas tax means motorists will save about $0.25 per gallon, or about $1 billion in total. State lawmakers are plugging that hole with federal coronavirus stimulus dollars assigned by Congress.

10. Grand Prix tickets, property tax exemptions for widowers, more

The tax package, House Bill 7071, also includes many other tax exemptions, including:

A sales tax exemption for tickets to Formula One Grand Prix races, an exemption sought in years past by billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who owns the Hard Rock Stadium where the Miami Grand Prix race is held.

An increase in property exempt from taxation for residents who are widows, widowers, blind or totally and permanently disabled from $500 to $5,000.

A sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment used to produce energy from burning hydrogen, which could save the state’s largest utility, Florida Power & Light, an estimated $300,000 per year on a new plant in Okeechobee.

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