Making the most of Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday

August 04, 2010
The Florida Legislature and governor approved a back-to-school sales tax holiday on certain books, clothing and school supplies. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on August 13 and running through midnight on August 15, consumers can purchase certain books, clothing, wallets or bags having a sales price of $50 or less and certain school supplies having a sales price of $10 or less without paying sales tax on the items. Florida’s Department of Revenue offers a detailed list of items that do and do not qualify for the tax exemption.
To help consumers make the most of the sales tax holiday, your BBB offers the following tips:
  • Plan ahead. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. And make a list of the items you need to purchase to avoid buying on impulse. Be sure to check with your child’s school for a list of required supplies to avoid return trips.
  • Comparison shop, carefully. Tax holiday “sales” and promotions may not be the bargains they appear to be. Make sure you’re comparing “apples to apples” when looking at sales and promotions.
  • Talk to the retailer. Before making your purchase, ask the merchant how refunds and exchanges will be handled after the sales tax holiday ends.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Because stores may be particularly busy during the sales tax holiday, pay extra attention to those around you. Never leave your wallet, purse or credit card on a counter. Don’t get overloaded with packages. Shop with a companion or ask for a security escort to your car.
  • Shop at businesses you know to be trustworthy. Get a free BBB Reliability Report on any retailer you’re considering patronizing. In July 2010 alone, your BBB|West Florida provided over 135,000 Reliability Reports for consumers checking out a business’ marketplace record, including length of time in business, number of complaints and how they were resolved, licensing, bonding, insurance or registration that may be required for the business’ industry, and whether any government action had been filed against the business.
For additional information and advice you can trust, start with