For Immediate Release: July 24, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

The Sunshine State’s annual tax-free shopping holiday is extended to five days this year; Technology items up to $1,000 are included, and consumers of ALL ages can save money by taking advantage of buying thousands of eligible items

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retailers, is encouraging consumers and retailers to prepare for the upcoming Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. This popular annual “holiday” takes place August 2-6. During this time, consumers will not have to pay sales tax on thousands of eligible items such as clothes, shoes, school supplies and the return of technology items. The sales tax holiday also benefits Sunshine State retailers who see increased sales and as a result, create new jobs for hard working Florida families.

“We are excited to support this generous five-day tax free holiday. This annual event provides Floridians with much needed tax relief while providing a nice boost to our local retailers,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We commend Governor DeSantis and our legislative leaders for their support of Florida’s families.”

Serving as the state’s second busiest shopping “holiday” behind Black Friday, this year’s list of eligible items includes technology items up to $1,000 (not included in 2018), clothing, shoes and bags costing $60 or less and school supplies $15 or less. Nationally, the average family shopping for K-12 students is expected to be $696.70, the highest in survey history, according to FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. Total spending nationally is expected to be slightly lower than last year, due to fewer families with students in grades K-12, totaling $26.2 billion, down from $27.5 billion.

Families with college students are expected to spend an average of $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17 and tops the previous record of $969.88 set in 2017. With fewer respondents saying they are attending college, spending is expected to total $54.5 billion, down from last year’s record $55.3 billion.

Total spending nationally for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $80.7 billion, down from last year’s $82.8 billion largely because of the decreased number of households with children in elementary through high school.

According to the survey, back-to-school shoppers plan to spend the most on clothing ($236.90). In addition, shoppers also plan to spend:

  • $203.44 on electronics such as computers, calculators and phones
  • $135.96 on shoes
  • $117.49 on supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes.

K-12 families plan to do most of their shopping at department stores (53 percent), discount stores (50 percent), online (49 percent), clothing stores (45 percent) and office supply stores (31 percent).

Among K-12 shoppers, teens are expected to spend an average $36.71 of their own money, up from $30.88 10 years ago, while pre-teens should spend $26.40, up from $11.94 from 10 years ago.

College shoppers plan to spend the most on electronics ($234.69), followed by:

  • $148.54 on clothing and accessories
  • $120.19 on dorm and apartment furnishings
  • $98.72 on food items ($98.72)

They plan to do most of their shopping online (45 percent), followed by department stores (39 percent), discount stores (36 percent), college bookstores (32 percent) and office supply stores (29 percent).

“Consumers desire the ability to shop in different ways and at different times, and retailers have responded by providing innovative shopping options for them to choose from,” said Shalley. “We’re proud of the many technological advancements our retail members have made that ensure everyone’s shopping experience is fun, safe and easy.”

The back-to-school sales tax holiday has been one of the most popular shopping holidays among consumers and retailers and has been providing vital tax relief since it first began. The holiday has been recognized in 18 out of the 22 years since it first began in 1998. This year will mark the 10th year in a row it has taken place.

For more information and a list of qualifying items, please review the Department of Revenue's complete Tax Information Publication (TIP), as well as their Frequently Asked Questions. For your convenience, on their website, they've also provided digital downloads and social media posts for businesses interested in promoting and sharing information about the sales tax holiday.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

From May 31-June 6, Floridians won’t have to pay sales tax on thousands of items to help them both during and after a disaster; Tarps, batteries, radios, and generators are some of the most popular supplies

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retail industry, reminds consumers that May 31-June 6 is the state’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. During this time period, shoppers will not have to pay sales tax on eligible items and supplies that can be used to prepare for and recover from natural disasters that hit the Sunshine State. Hurricane season starts June 1.

“With hurricane season here, this Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday comes at a great time by drawing attention to the need to be prepared for a storm and providing Florida families with millions in needed tax relief,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “I want to thank Governor DeSantis for including this holiday is his original budget and our legislative leaders for their hard work this past session to ensure it was funded.”

The Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 31 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 6. During the holiday, sales tax will not be collected on the following popular items (for a complete listing of these items and other information, please click here):

  • A portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less.
  • A portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or Weatherband radio selling for $50 or less.
  • A tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less.
  • A ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less.
  • A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less.
  • A package of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less.
  • A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less.
  • A portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage selling for $750 or less.
  • Reusable ice selling for $10 or less.

Additional information regarding the 2019 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, including a list of qualifying items, promotional materials and FAQs, has been posted to the Department of Revenue’s website.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.

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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: July 25, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Florida’s popular annual shopping holiday takes place August 3-5; Consumers of all ages can take advantage of buying thousands of eligible items tax free

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retailers, is reminding both retailers and consumers of the upcoming Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday weekend, taking place August 3-5. During this “holiday,” consumers will not have to pay sales tax on thousands of eligible items such as clothes, shoes and school supplies. The sales tax holiday also benefits Sunshine State retailers who see increased sales and as a result, create new jobs for hard working Florida families.

“The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday remains as popular with retailers as consumers, and with the increased strength of Florida’s economy right now, we expect to see near-record sales this year,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We want to thank Governor Scott and our legislative leaders for including this holiday in the state budget once again, and we look forward to another successful shopping season with retailers piggybacking discounts on top of the tax-free spending and consumers taking advantage of these deals.”

Serving as the state’s second busiest shopping “holiday” behind Black Friday, this year’s list of eligible items includes clothing, shoes and bags costing $60 or less and school supplies $15 or less. Nationally, the average family is expected to spend $684.79, down slightly from last year’s average of $687.72, but still totaling more than $27.5 billion nationally – the third highest total in survey history, according to FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Those with young people heading to college as well as college and graduate students purchasing for themselves plan to spend an average of $942.17 each, down from $969.88 last year for a total of $55.3 billion nationally. That’s an all-time high in the history of the survey, up from last year’s previous record of $54.1 billion, due to more people shopping this season.

According to the survey, back-to-school shoppers plan to spend the most on clothing ($236.90). In addition, back-to-school shoppers also plan to spend:

  • $187.10 on electronics such as computers, calculators or phones
  • • $138.66 on shoes • $122.13 on supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks, and lunchboxes

Unlike back-to-schoolers, college shoppers will spend the most on electronics ($229.21). Besides electronics, they also plan to spend:

  • $153.32 on clothing and accessories
  • $109.29 on dorm or apartment furnishings
  • $102.82 on food
  • $83.41 on shoes
  • $78.70 on personal care items such as skin and hair care
  • $69.46 on school supplies such as notebooks and backpacks
  • $62.61 on gift cards
  • $53.34 on collegiate branded gear

“This year’s expected spending continues a streak of more than 18 months of record or near-record spending on shopping holidays,” said Shalley. “This shows how strong the overall health of our retail industry is, as well as how vital it is to the economic strength of our state and nation as a whole.”

The top destinations for consumers shopping for back-to-school items are:

  • Department stores (57 percent)
  • Online retailers (55 percent)
  • Discount stores (52 percent)
  • Clothing stores (51 percent)
  • Office supply stores (35 percent)

Similarly, the most popular shopping destinations for back-to-college consumers are:

  • Online retailers (49 percent)
  • Department stores (40 percent)
  • Discount stores (35 percent)
  • Office supply stores (31 percent)
  • College bookstores (30 percent)

The survey also found that more consumers are starting early. Most back-to-school shoppers (77 percent) plan to start at least three weeks before school begins, up from last year’s 74 percent and 64 percent a decade ago. Moreover, 67 percent of college shoppers will start that early, the same as last year but up from 51 percent in 2008. However, there is still plenty of shopping left to do. Nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) back-to-school and college shoppers still have half or more of their purchases left to complete. Of these, more than half are still waiting for the best deals for the items on their lists.

The survey found teenagers will spend $35.60 of their own money on average for back-to-school while pre-teens will spend $25.06.

The back-to-school sales tax holiday has been one of the most popular shopping holidays among consumers and retailers and has been providing vital tax relief since it first began. The holiday has been recognized in 17 out of the 21 years since it first began in 1998. This year will mark the 9th year in a row it has taken place. For the complete list of eligible tax-free items, see www.floridarevenue.com.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Published in Media Relations
Friday, 29 June 2018 09:45

2018 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) just released the list of eligible items for the 2018 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. This sales tax holiday begins Friday, August 3, 2018, and runs through Sunday, August 5, 2018. During this period, qualifying items will be exempt from tax including: certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; and clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item.

For more information and a list of qualifying items, please visit the Department of Revenue's Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday website. There you will find DOR’s Tax Information Publication (TIP), as well as a Frequently Asked Questions document. For your convenience, the Department also created digital downloads and social media posts for businesses interested in sharing information about the sales tax holiday.

Published in Retail News

Three days of tax-free, back-to-school shopping starts Friday, Aug. 4, and stores are expected to be packed despite the internet’s growing encroachment on brick-and-mortar retailers.

“Back to school shopping is a great example of the social experience that shopping is,” said Steven Kirn, a retail professor at the University of Florida. “Especially when you have parents and children shopping together, it shows one of the continuing strengths of stores.”

Nearly three times as many shoppers plan to visit stores compared with shopping online for back-to-school sales, according to a survey from New York City-based research and auditing firm Deloitte. Mostly, consumers will go online to purchase items such as computers and computer hardware such as printers and hard drives.

Parents, store managers and researchers said brick-and-mortar has the advantage on back-to-school shopping, for now, because prices are lower in stores for school supplies and picking the correct sizes for kids can be difficult.

That means aisles will be crammed with parents and students next weekend when the back-to-school shopping season culminates Aug. 4-6. Shoppers won’t pay the 6 percent to 7 percent state and local sales tax on clothing, shoes, backpacks, school supplies and computers under $750 starting at 12:01 a.m. that Friday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

The sales tax discount is also good on many online purchases for Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com.

Adding to the crowds, retailers also tend to pile their own discounts on top of the sales tax relief, pulling more shoppers into stores.

Many will be heading to mass merchants such as Wal-Mart and Target, according to Deloitte’s survey.

School supply lists in hand, Christina Doolittle and her two elementary age sons grabbed a cart at SuperTarget on Millenia Plaza Way in Orlando Wednesday. Jack, 10, and Grey, 8, crossed off items as they picked through erasers and highlighters and decided which folders to buy among a rainbow of options.

“I haven’t bought anything online for back to school, even though I order a lot of stuff on Amazon at Christmas,” said Doolittle, who lives in Orlando.

Wednesday’s Target trip was her last back-to-school-shopping stop, as she hoped to buy supplies and clothes before the crowds of the tax-free weekend.

Buying school supplies is tough online, she said, because items aren’t available in small quantities. Schools and teachers also have specific requirements for items such as folders. It’s safer to head to the store, she said.

Physical stores have some distinct advantages, Kirn said.

“The existing model of shipping items to stores, to be distributed to the masses is very efficient for things like school supplies,” Kirn said. “There just isn't the margin to sell things like one or two pencils or erasers on Amazon in the quantity that people want to buy them in.”

Kirn said online sellers could have an advantage on items such as computers and hardware, where size and processing power is more important than touch and feel.

“A computer is a computer no matter where you are in the country,” Kirn said.

The Florida Legislature sets the tax-free period every year. This year’s holiday is three days and gives an exemption on shoes and clothing items up to $60 each, school supplies less than $15 each, and computers less than $750. Backpacks also must cost less than $60 to qualify. Shoppers can also skip the sales tax on dozens of related items from tuxedos and diaper bags to coats and cleats.

The program is expected to save Florida consumers about $33.2 million in state and local sales taxes, according to estimates from the Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research. As recently as 2015, Florida shoppers were given a 10-day sales-tax holiday, but that cost state and local governments about twice as much in sales tax revenue.

Most shopping still happens in stores and back-to-school season is a good example of where brick-and-mortar has an advantage, Florida Retail Federation spokesman James Miller said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 8 percent of all retail sales happen online, including grocery sales.

Another reason, Miller said, is that children can grow quickly and make it difficult to buy accurate clothing sizes online.

“When it comes to clothes, there is a large segment of the population that still wants to try on items in person,” Miller said. “That may change over time, but we’re a long way from that point.” read more

Kyle Arnold This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Orlando Sentinel
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/consumer/os-bz-tax-free-weekend-20170725-story.html

Published in FRF in the News
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