Back-to-school tax-free holiday includes new items, bigger

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — It’s time to shop and save!

Florida’s Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday started Monday with bigger savings and new items included.

According to Florida Tax Watch, shoppers are expected to save $100 million over the two-week period.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education

Jim Arpe has been selling toys at Learning Express Toys & Gifts in Palm Beach Gardens for more than 20 years. But now, shoppers can save a little when they buy some of them.

“It brought us back to our founder’s name and the name of our store, the Learning Express,” Arpe said. “You think of fun, but there are a lot of learning activities in here.”

For the first time, the state has included what it calls “learning aides” as part of the back-to-school tax-free holiday. Shoppers won’t pay sales tax on toys that teach.

“It’s good for the people, sure,” Arpe said.

Learning aides like puzzles priced up to $30 are tax-free.

Most clothing items and shoes $100 or less are also tax-free. Last year it was items $60 or less.

You won’t pay sales tax on school supplies $50 or less. That’s an increase from the $15 price limit last year.

And electronics like computers and computer accessories that cost up to $1,500 dollars are tax-free. In 2021, the max price was $1,000.

WPTV found a laptop at Best Buy for $1,499, just under the $1,500 limit. At that price, if you save the 7% sales tax in Palm Beach County, you are saving nearly $105.

Back at Learning Express, longtime customer Holly Maisto is happy to see the extra savings.

“I think it’s huge,” Maisto said. “I think it’s a really nice perk and I’m so glad they’re doing that.”

And while it’s a bit of a learning curve for this first year, Arpe is glad to prioritize learning.

“There are so many items, it’s hard for us to automate the process,” Arpe said. “We’ll create a separate ticket and try to give the customer what he’s due.”

The Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday runs through Aug. 7 and applies to online purchases as well.

For a complete list of tax-free items, click here.

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