‘Freedom Week’: Florida’s new sales tax holiday starts July 1

Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – You’ve seen tax-free shopping for back-to-school supplies and disaster-prep gear for hurricane season, but now a third tax free holiday week, created through a recently passed law, is set to rock the calendar in Florida starting July 1.

The so-called “Freedom Week” makes buying entry tickets for music events like concerts, sporting events, movies, museum visits, getting into state parks and buying fitness facilities memberships at clubs or gyms tax-free from July 1 to July 7, 2021.

House Bill 7061 also says that buying boating and water activity supplies, camping supplies, fishing supplies, and general outdoor supplies will be tax-free during the sales tax holiday. According to state lawmakers, the goal of the new tax holiday is to help Florida families return to normal after a difficult 2020.

“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. 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.”

Statement from Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Miami, on passage of HB 7061.

The events with admissions purchases will include any event scheduled from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2021, so long as you buy the ticket between July 1 and July 7.

While the bill was passed as the recent legislative session ended, the law will take effect after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s suspension of all local COVID-19 emergency orders in the state through a new executive order.

While signing the executive order at a news conference in St. Petersburg, DeSantis made it clear that the executive order will be pursuant to a new law he signed too, that will ban vaccine passports and limit local government powers beginning July 1.

Still, the two laws are not explicitly tied together, by the governor or the state legislature.

The law’s passage also comes after Florida lawmakers approved what some are calling a $1 billion tax increase aimed at online sales in the state.

“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. 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.”

Statement from Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.

While the goal of the bill is aimed at helping families after the economic crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers’ own analysis of the law says it could cost the state millions of dollars of revenue in Fiscal Year 2022.

The total impact of the bill in FY 2021-22 would be -$61.5 million (-$50.0 million recurring) of which – $44.9 million (-$9.0 million recurring) is on General Revenue, $0 is on state trust funds, and -$16.6 million (-$41.0 million recurring) is on local government.

Total tax reductions embodied in the language are represented by the sum of the recurring impacts, reflecting the annual value of permanent tax cuts when fully implemented, and the pure nonrecurring impacts, reflecting temporary tax reductions. The total of -$100.1 million in tax reductions is the sum of -$50.0 million (recurring), and -$50.1 million (pure nonrecurring in FY 2021-22).

Fiscal impact of HB 7061, produced by the House of Representatives Staff from the Ways & MEans Committee.

A release by the Florida Senate breaks down what exactly the tax holiday applies to for certain supplies for camping and fishing, among others.

Keep reading for a full list of what types of items will be tax-free during the Freedom Week holiday.

Boating and Water Supplies will be tax-free:

  • To the first $75 of the sales price of life jackets and coolers
  • To the first $50 of the sales price of safety flares
  • To the first $150 of the sales price of water skis, wakeboards, kneeboards and recreational inflatable water tubes or floats that can be towed
  • To the first $300 of the sales price of paddleboards and surfboards
  • To the first $500 of the sales price of canoes and kayaks
  • To the first $75 of the sales price of paddles and oars
  • To the first $25 of the sales price of snorkels, goggles and swimming masks

Camping Supplies will be tax-free:

  • To the first $200 of the sales price of tents
  • To the first $50 of the sales price of sleeping bags, portable hammocks, camping stoves and collapsible camping chairs
  • To the first $30 of the sales price of camping lanterns and flashlights

Fishing Supplies will be tax-free:

  • To the first $75 of the sales price of rods and reels, if sold individually or the first $150 if sold as a set
  • To the first $30 of the sales price of tackle boxes or bags
  • To the first $5 of the sales price of bait or fishing tackle, if sold individually, or the first $10 if multiple items are sold together

General Outdoor Supplies will be tax-free:

  • To the first $15 of the sales price of sunscreen or insect repellant
  • To the first $100 of the sales price of sunglasses
  • To the first $200 of the sales price of binoculars
  • To the first $30 of the sales price of water bottles
  • To the first $50 of the sales price of hydration packs
  • To the first $250 of the sales price of outdoor gas or charcoal grills
  • To the first $50 of the sales price of bicycle helmets
  • To the first $250 of the sales price of bicycles

Sports Equipment will be tax-free:

  • To any item used in individual or team sports, not including clothing or footwear, selling for $40 or less

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