FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2012
CONTACT: John Fleming 850-222-4082, firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida retailers ready for crowds during Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday weekend
Popular tax holiday is expected to boost store traffic during busy shopping season
TALLAHASSEE – Retailers in Florida are expected to boost staffing by 20 to 25 percent this weekend to accommodate the influx of shoppers looking for tax breaks during Florida’s annual sales tax holiday, according to the Florida Retail Federation. That’s good news for Florida’s economy because it means added work hours for retail employees during the industry’s second busiest shopping season.
“Florida’s families really enjoy the sales tax holiday, and retailers have embraced it with some great promotions this year. About one-third of everything sold at retail this weekend will be tax-free,” said Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “We expect retailers see an average increase of about 37 percent in store traffic this weekend because of the sales tax holiday. Retail is Florida’s second largest industry, so that’s good for our economy as a whole, because it means more work hours and higher payrolls.”
From 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 3, through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 5, no sales tax or local option tax will be collected on sales of clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $75 or less per item, or on certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item.
“The members of the Florida House and Senate, and Governor Rick Scott have once again given Florida’s families a much-needed break on their taxes for back-to-school shopping. We hope state leaders will consider making the sales tax holiday a true annual tradition by enacting it permanently,” McAllister said.
Complete listings of tax-exempt and taxable items are on the web at www.frf.org/salestaxholiday
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE SALES TAX HOLIDAY
A study by The Washington Economics Group (WEG) that examined the impact of the 2010 back-to-school sales tax holiday confirmed that increased spending during the three-day period translated to augmented tax revenues for Florida. According to the report, the sales tax holiday generated $115 million more in taxable sales [when compared to the same weekend from the previous year without a sales tax holiday] and gross sales projections for the month of August were surpassed by $289 million. The bottom line: a $7 million net increase in tax revenues to the state in 2010 over and above what would have been collected without any tax break incentive.
HISTORY OF THE SALES TAX HOLIDAY IN FLORIDA
The first sales tax holiday in Florida was enacted in 1998, and ran for seven days – from August 15-21. It applied to clothing and footwear valued at $50 or less. It was patterned on a sales-tax-free period first enacted in the state of New York. There have been sales tax holidays in Florida in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011. Florida’s sales tax holiday was expanded in 1999 to a nine-day holiday – spanning two weekends from July 31 to August 8 – and the value of tax-exempt clothing raised to $100. The holiday in 2000 was nearly identical. In 2001, school supplies with a selling price under $10 were exempted for the first time, while the clothing exemption was reduced to $50.
After a two-year hiatus, the nine-day holiday returned in 2004 and continued through 2007 with an exemption on clothing under $50 and school supplies under $10. In 2005, to encourage residents to stock up on emergency supplies, Florida added a Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, which continued through 2007. When the sales tax holiday returned in 2010, it was a three-day holiday from August 13-15 with exemptions on clothing under $50 and school supplies under $10. The three-day tax holiday was repeated in 2011 from August 12-14, with increased exemptions of clothing up to $75 and school supplies up to $15.
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing Florida’s second largest employment industry. Florida retailers pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, provide one out of every five jobs in the state, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales and retail-related taxes for Florida’s government each year. For more information, visit the FRF website
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John E. Fleming
Director of Communications
Florida Retail Federation
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