The 2012 Florida Legislature passed and the governor approved a tax-free period that says no sales tax shall be collected on the sale of clothing, wallets or bags, including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs and diaper bags, or on sales of certain school supplies having a sales price of $15 or less per item for the period beginning 12:01 a.m. Aug. 3, and ending at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 5.
"Clothing" means any article of wearing apparel, including all footwear (except skis, swim fins, roller blades and skates), intended to be worn on or about the human body.
However, "clothing" doesn’t include watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs or sporting equipment.
"School supplies" means pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, notebooks, notebook filler paper, legal pads, binders, lunch boxes, construction paper, markers, folders, poster board, composition books, poster paper, scissors, cellophane tape, glue, paste, rulers, computer disks, protractors, compasses and calculators.
For a complete list of exempt and taxable items, log onto http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/pdf/tip2a01-02List.pdf to view the Florida Department of Revenue document.
NAPLES — Summer savings for parents usually means it's time for Florida's annual tax-free, back-to-school shopping weekend.
Savings start at 12:01 a.m. Friday and continue through 11:59 p.m. Sunday in Florida. Parents and students can save on everything from pens, pencils and paper to backpacks, belts and blouses.
The tax-free weekend means certain items under $75 will be charged without state sales taxes at retailers, including clothing and footwear, along with school supplies priced less than $15. Tax-free items also exclude certain sporting goods.
"I know the styles that fit my daughter. I know which stores to go to that have styles which fit her well, so I scope them out a couple of weeks before school starts,"said Cyndi Benevides-Koehler, a parent of a fifth-grader attending Vineyards Elementary School in North Naples this fall.
"I also try to 'like' the retailers on Facebook beforehand, and then I may get discounts. We often go to Old Navy, Justice and Aeropostale, where there are a lot of school uniforms to choose from, too."
Kelly Pickle of Golden Gate Estates agrees with Benevides-Koehler's strategy. Pickle tries to take her shopping to a maximum savings level at Once Upon a Child in North Naples.
"We shop at secondhand shops a lot, and the prices are right for us, and they are very organized when it comes to what they have to offer," said Pickle, a mother of three, whose two oldest children attend Big Cypress Elementary School in Golden Gate Estates.
Uniforms Unlimited store manager Andy Dick said that he's seen more customers come in lately to check out styles they offer in keeping with dress codes and uniform requirements.
"They start shopping really early to participate in tax-free week, and we are ready," Dick said. The family owned and operated business moved to a more centralized location in the Marquesa Plaza, off Livingston Road, to better serve customers and offers school uniforms year-round.
In an effort to better serve the local community, Uniforms Unlimited also partnered with St. Matthew's House, Youth Haven and Collier County Public Schools to provide community vouchers to children who need school uniforms.
Uniforms Unlimited community vouchers also come as a welcome reprieve for homeless students, and help alleviate the weight of back-to-school expenses for families who may be struggling with school uniform costs.
Some public schools even adopted a uniform storage cabinet for families to donate old uniforms, so costs of outfitting more than one child for the upcoming school year are reduced for other families attending the same school.