Package Includes Back-To-School, Disaster Preparedness, Freedom Week Tax Holidays,
Tax Exemption for Independent Living Items, Expands Tax Credit for Affordable Housing
The Florida Senate today passed House Bill 7061, Taxation, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Miami). The legislation will deliver tax relief to families and businesses across the state, with a focus on sales tax holidays that offer a savings for Floridians preparing for the upcoming 2021 Hurricane Season and the 2021-2022 school year, as well as individuals and families enjoying outdoor activities and events. The bill also expands the current tax exemption for affordable housing properties and creates a permanent sales tax exemption for items that support independent living.
“This last year has been quite a challenge for Florida families as they make decisions about how best to educate their children during the Pandemic. This legislation provides tax relief for families purchasing supplies for the new school year, which will be great help for those returning to in-person learning, and also provides savings for computers and other supplies that would be helpful for remote learning,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby). “We also further incentivize affordable housing opportunities by expanding the property tax exemption for property owners who have a long-standing commitment to maintaining their units as affordable housing properties.”
“We have all been so focused on the pandemic, that it can be easy to forget that hurricane season is right around the corner. This bill incentivizes advanced planning with tax breaks on key supplies families and businesses need for disaster preparedness. As Florida families prepare for a full return to pre-pandemic life, the bill provides tax relief for a variety of outdoor events and activities individuals and families can enjoy this summer and fall,” said Senator Rodriguez. “Additionally, we know Florida is a retirement dream for so many around the country, and we know our seniors have a much better quality of life when they can stay in their own homes, or with family as long as possible. This legislation offers a tax break on items Floridians can use to make their homes safer for older Floridians as well as other family members who may face mobility challenges, promoting the independent lifestyle we all value.”
Expands the Tax Credit for Affordable Housing
Florida law currently offers property owners who provide affordable housing to low-income individuals and families a 50 percent discount for property taxes on these units. The discount applies only to properties with more than 70 units and begins after the property has been recorded as an affordable housing property for 15 years. To incentivize more property owners to offer affordable housing units, the bill expands the property tax discount to 100 percent of property taxes. Continuing the current requirement, the 100 percent exemption does not begin until the property has been recorded as an affordable housing property for 15 years.
Permanent Sales Tax Exemption for Independent Living Items
The legislation creates a permanent sales tax exemption for items that assist in independent living. When purchased for noncommercial, home or personal use, the exemption applies to bed transfer handles selling for $60 or less, bed rails selling for $110 or less, grab bars selling for $100 or less, and shower seats selling for $100 or less.
Establishes the 2021 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday
The legislation creates a 10-day “back-to-school” sales tax holiday from July 31 to August 9, 2021, for clothing, footwear, and backpacks costing $60 or less, school supplies costing $15 or less, and the first $1,000 of the sales tax price of personal computers or personal computer-related accessories.
Establishes the 2021 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday
The legislation creates a 10-day “disaster preparedness” sales tax holiday from May 28 to June 6, 2021, for disaster preparedness supplies. Some examples of tax-free items include: flashlights and lanterns costing $40 or less; radios costing $50 or less; tarps costing $100 or less, coolers costing $60 or less, batteries costing $50 or less; and, generators costing $1,000 or less.
Establishes the 2021 Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday
During the week of July 1 – July 7, 2021, purchases of admissions to music events, sporting events, cultural events, specified performances, movies, museums, state park annual passes, and fitness facilities for events held from July 1 – December 31, 2021, will be tax free. Additionally, purchases of season tickets are also exempted.
The Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday also applies to sales of boating and water activity supplies, camping supplies, fishing supplies, general outdoor supplies, and sports equipment.
Boating and Water Supplies: The tax holiday applies to the first $75 of the sales price of life jackets and coolers; the first $50 of the sales price of safety flares; the first $150 of the sales price of water skis, wakeboards, kneeboards, and recreational inflatable water tubes or floats capable of being towed; the first $300 of the sales price of paddleboards and surfboards; the first $500 of the sales price of canoes and kayaks; the first $75 of the sales price of paddles and oars; and the first $25 of the sales price of snorkels, goggles, and swimming masks.
Camping Supplies: The tax holiday applies to the first $200 of the sales price of tents; the first $50 of the sales price of sleeping bags, portable hammocks, camping stoves, and collapsible camping chairs; and the first $30 of the sales price of camping lanterns and flashlights.
Fishing Supplies: The tax holiday applies to the first $75 of the sales price of rods and reels, if sold individually, or the first $150 of the sales price if sold as a set; the first $30 of the sales price of tackle boxes or bags; and the first $5 of the sale price of bait or fishing tackle, if sold individually, or the first $10 of the sales price if multiple items are sold together.
General Outdoor Supplies: The tax holiday applies to the first $15 of the sales price of sunscreen or insect repellant; the first $100 of the sales price of sunglasses; the first $200 of the sales price of binoculars; the first $30 of the sales price of water bottles; the first $50 of the sales price of hydration packs; the first $250 of the sales price of outdoor gas or charcoal grills; the first $50 of the sales price of bicycle helmets; and the first $250 of the sales price of bicycles.
Sports Equipment: The tax holiday applies any item used in individual or team sports, not including clothing or footwear, selling for $40 or less.
Background: Over the last several years, the Florida Legislature has prioritized broad-based tax relief for Florida’s families and businesses.
2020: House Bill 7097 established Back-to-School and Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays.
2018 and 2019: House Bills 7087 (2018) and 7123 (2019) established Back-to-School and Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays, further reduced the business rent tax, and created several exemptions related to hurricane response, preparedness and recovery.
2017: House Bill 7109 established Back-to-School and Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays, created a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products, and reduced the business rent tax.
2016: House Bill 7099 permanently eliminated the sales tax for machinery and manufacturing equipment, and established a Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday.
2015: House Bill 33-A permanently decreased the communication services tax (CST) on Floridians’ phones and television services, instituted a Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, and among other tax relief measures, eliminated the sales tax charged to returning service members and their families who purchased a vehicle overseas.
2014: House Bill 5601 established Back-to-School and Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays; created permanent sales tax exemptions for children’s car seats, booster seats, and bicycle helmets; and provided a nearly $400 million reduction in vehicle registration fees. The legislation reduced certain annual fees paid to register a motor vehicle to the amount paid prior to 2009. In addition to other tax relief measures passed in 2014, this legislation provided annual fee relief to every Floridian who registers a car or truck.