Florida’s legislative session was marked by grueling fights over abortion, transgender issues and other topics of the country’s “culture wars.”
But one major bill received bipartisan praise and unanimous votes: a series of temporary tax breaks the state is promoting as its biggest ever.
Governor Ron DeSantis signed the tax package on Friday, touting the first sales tax relief for all manner of essential and recreational items. State sales tax is 6%, but many items are also exempt from county sales tax.
“You’re going to see breaks for really critical needs, like gas, diapers, disaster supplies, tools for skilled trades, recreational activities, etc.,” DeSantis said Friday. “Families will be able to save for things that really matter to them.”
Here are the top tax cuts and exemptions lawmakers passed this year, in the order in which they take effect. For more details, visit the Florida Department of Revenue website.
1. Children’s books: 14 May-August. 14, 2022
For three months, children’s books, regardless of price, will be exempt from sales tax. “Children’s books” are defined as “any fiction or non-fiction book primarily intended for children 12 years of age or younger.”
2. Disaster Preparedness Supplies: May 28-June 10, 2022
The state’s annual two-week disaster preparedness tax holiday continues this year, with a slew of items exempt from state and county sales taxes, including:
▪ Flashlights and lanterns valued at $40 or less.
▪ A pack of batteries worth $50 or less.
▪ Coolers worth $60 or less.
▪ Portable generators valued at $1,000 or less.
▪ Miscellaneous pet supplies
The Ministry of Revenue has a complete list of articles.
3. “Freedom Week” Sales Tax Exemption: July 1 to July 7, 2022
For one week, tickets to live sporting and musical events, movies, museums, state parks and festivals will be tax-free. So will a variety of outdoor supplies, including:
▪ The first $250 off the sale price of bikes and outdoor grills.
▪ Various fishing tackle including reels and rods.
▪ The first $200 spent on tents.
▪ The first $150 spent on residential pool and spa chemicals.
The state has a full list on its website.
4. Diapers, toddler clothing, footwear: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023
An idea proposed by Democrats in the Legislature for years, Republicans this year agreed to a one-year sales tax exemption for children’s diapers. Another exemption makes infant and toddler clothing, clothing, and footwear primarily intended for children 5 years of age or younger exempt from tax for the same period.
5. Impact-resistant windows, doors, garage doors: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2024
For two years, these items will be exempt from sales tax for commercial and non-commercial use.
6. Energy Star Appliances: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023
The following Energy Star labeled items are exempt from sales tax if purchased for non-commercial use:
▪ Clothes dryers sold for $1,500 or less.
▪ Refrigerators or refrigerator/freezer combos sold for $3,000 or less.
▪ Washing machines sold for $1,500 or less.
▪ Water heaters sold for $1,500 or less.
7. Back to school: 25 July-August. 7, 2022
Lawmakers this year renewed the annual sales tax exemption for school supplies, with the following items being exempt:
▪ Clothing, shoes and certain accessories whose selling price is $100 or less per item.
▪ Certain school supplies whose selling price is $50 or less per item.
▪ Learning aids and puzzles retailing for $30 or less.
▪ Personal computers and certain computer accessories with a sale price of $1,500 or less, when purchased for household or personal non-commercial use.
More details are available on the state’s website.
8. Sales Tax Exemption on Skilled Worker Tools: Sept. 3-Sept. 9, 2022
This first tax holiday applies to the purchase of a variety of tools and supplies, including:
▪ Toolboxes valued at $75 or less.
▪ Work boots sold for $175 or less per pair.
▪ Power tools selling for $300 or less per item.
The full list of eligible items can be found on the state’s website.
9. Gasoline Tax Suspension: October 1 to October 31, 2022
To mitigate record gasoline prices, lawmakers this year agreed to suspend state gasoline tax collection for one month (including the month before the November election, when DeSantis and every legislative seat are up for election).
The suspension of gas tax collection means motorists will save about $0.25 per gallon, or about $1 billion in total. State lawmakers are filling that hole with federal coronavirus stimulus dollars allocated by Congress.
10. Grand Prix tickets, estate tax exemptions for widowers, more
The tax package, House Bill 7071, also includes many other tax exemptions, including:
▪ A sales tax exemption for tickets to Formula 1 Grand Prix races, an exemption sought in years past by billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, owner of the Hard Rock Stadium where the race takes place of the Miami Grand Prix.
▪ An increase in tax-exempt property for residents who are widowed, widowed, blind or totally and permanently disabled from $500 to $5,000.
▪ A sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment used to generate power from the combustion of hydrogen, which could save the state’s largest utility, Florida Power & Light about $300,000 a year on a new plant in Okeechobee.
This story was originally published May 6, 2022 1:25 p.m.