Computers back on list during Florida back-to-school tax holiday

Expensive computers are back on the list of tax-free items Floridians can buy during the upcoming annual back-to-school sales tax holiday.

On Aug. 4-6, consumers will pay zero state and local option taxes on hundreds of items, from clothes and shoes ($60 or less) to school supplies ($15 or less) to computers ($750 or less), according the Florida Department of Revenue.

On the list of tax-exempt times: More than 40 pricey computers and tech accessories, including printer ink cartridges, clothing, shoes, backpacks, purses, lunch boxes and notebooks, pens and more.

For example, shoppers could save up to $52.50 in 7 percent sales tax on each computer, laptop and tablet purchased for noncommercial use.

In 2016, those items were not exempt.

“It’s great to have computers back in because those are very expensive items,” said Dominic Colabro, president and CEO of the nonprofit Florida Tax Watch based in Tallahassee. “This comes at a great time when families are spending a lot of money at this time of year.”

Check our interactive database to see which school supplies are tax free. »

In Palm Beach County, pubic school begins on Aug. 14. In Broward and Miami-Dade counties, children return on Aug. 21.

Tax Watch estimates Floridians will save $33.1 million in taxes during the three-day shopping extravaganza. Florida’s sales tax is 6 percent, which is the rate in Broward County. Sales tax in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties is 7 percent, which includes a 1 percent local option tax. Other Florida counties may impose an additional tax on purchases as well.

Stacking tax savings on top of deals means consumers can really cash in.

“Retailers promo the tax holiday with sales, and consumers get a double benefit — they save tax and get savings on special promotions with 20 to 30 percent of savings on top of the tax savings. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Colabro said.

In late May, Gov. Rick Scott signed a $180 million tax cut bill that included a disaster preparedness tax holiday, held on June 2-4, and the back-to-school sales tax holiday. The hurricane supply tax holiday saved taxpayers $4.5 million, according to Tax Watch.

The tax holiday is good for taxpayers, but it also has a net economic benefit for sales so retailers benefit and it helps jobs in the community, Calabro said.

“People say this is a gimmick. It’s not. It’s a holiday people enjoy,” Calabro said. “Shoppers are paying all year and this is a nice way to thank them with special savings. It’s something the Florida government can well afford. It’s a minimal cost for a wide public benefit.”

For more information, go to FloridaRevenue.com/BacktoSchool.

Email dchristensen@sunsentinel.com or visit Facebook.com/DoreensDeals.

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