No Sales Tax This Weekend! (On Clothes, Computers, iPads, More)
OK, so you'll still be charged sales tax on certain things, but if you're in the market for back-to-school stuff, clothing, or a computer, you're in luck. Throughout Florida, sales tax is being waived from 12:01 a.m. this Friday until midnight Sunday, August 4.
The more you spend, the more you save (or is that just what they tell me at the casino?). So this is the weekend to get Snookums all her new outfits or splurge and spend $34 on the cutest lunchbox ever from Beatrix New York. (Actually if you buy stuff online from other states, you usually get away without paying Florida sales tax -- though you're actually supposed to keep track of what you bought all year and pony up when you do your taxes. Yah right!)
According to the Broward County Records, Taxes, and Treasury Division, sales-tax-exempt items for 2013 include "certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $75 or less per item; and personal computers and certain related accessories selling for $750 or less per item when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use."
(According to Cult of Mac, iPads do qualify -- and Apple is even giving out $100 App Store gift cards with purchases into September.)
But wait -- there are detractors. People at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation in Washington say the holiday is a sham that doesn't really help the economy -- but just gives politicians a chance to crow.
The organization's recent report found that "Sales tax holidays do not promote economic growth or significantly increase consumer purchases; the evidence shows that they simply shift the timing of purchases. Some retailers raise prices during the holiday, reducing consumer savings."
And "While sales taxes are somewhat regressive, this is often exaggerated to sell the idea that sales tax holidays are an effective way of providing relief to the poor. To give a small amount of tax savings to low-income individuals, holidays give a large amount to others."
Also: It's a pain in the ass for businesses that have to reprogram their cash registers, figure out what does/doesn't qualify for the tax break, and do weird math just for these few days of the year.
Whatever -- some of us gotta take what we can get. If you need to drop a wad on new duds or a new machine, this is probably the weekend to do it.