School and office supply store Staples runs a seasonal commercial that brings a smile of joy to parents’ faces – and offers as much appeal to a school-aged child as a fizzled-out firework on the 4th of July. It features parents giddily shopping through the store for school supplies with their children sullenly lagging in the distance, while a song commonly associated with Christmas, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” plays in the background. The advertisement signals that the end of summer vacation is near, much like Florida's annual back-to-school tax-free weekend, which takes place this year between August 1 - 3.

Florida's Tax Free Weekend

Florida is one of 16 states offering the temporary tax breaks to its residents. Create your shopping list, wear your tennis shoes and pack some patience if you’re planning to hit the stores this weekend - although it doesn’t traditionally reach Black Friday frenzy status, tax-free shopping can get pretty frantic! And more shoppers = more identity thieves, so take precautions to prevent identity theft

What’s included in Florida’s sales tax holiday?

  • Apparel and shoes: Clothes, footwear, and certain accessories (such as purses, belts and backpacks) selling for $100 or less per item (up from $75 in 2013)
  • Supplies: School supplies (such as pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, tape, glue, notebooks, notebook paper, legal pads, binders and lunch boxes) selling for $15 or less per item
  • Electronics: Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories on the first $750 of the sales price, when purchased for non-commercial home or personal use. Personal computer includes any electronic book reader, laptop, desktop, handheld, tablet, or tower computer. Related accessories includes keyboards, mice, personal digital assistants, monitors (except those with TV tuners), modems, routers, printers, scanners, ink cartridges, data storage, batteries, cables, headphones and non-recreational software

Mail order and online purchases are also eligible. It’s a great idea to review the Florida Department of Revenue’s list of items eligible for the sales tax holiday –  it includes items you might not expect, such as diapers, costumes, sports uniforms, tuxedos, scout uniforms, fitness wear and more!

What’s not included in Florida’s tax-free weekend?

The list also excludes a few items that might surprise you, such as: books, cellphones, jewelry, copy and fax machines, digital cameras, computer and printer paper, video game consoles, digital media receivers, or devices that are not primarily designed to process data, among other items. Additionally, the tax holiday does not include the sale of clothing, school supplies, or computers and computer-related accessories in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport.

Do you plan to hit the malls this weekend? What's your strategy for making the most of Florida's tax-free weekend?