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Summer's arrival heralds sales tax holidays in FL & TX


The upcoming Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer.

It's also the start of a couple of sales tax holidays in Texas and Florida.

Texas energy & water tax savings: Let's start here in Texas. Beginning Saturday, May 27, and running through Monday, May 29, Lone Star State shoppers won't have to pay state and local sales taxes that usually apply to purchases of energy- and water-saving products.

The tax-free qualifying appliance purchases and related items include —

  • Energy Star-qualified air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less;
  • refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less;
  • ceiling fans;
  • incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs;
  • dishwashers;
  • dehumidifiers;
  • programmable thermostats; and
  • clothes washers.

Sorry, all my oenophile friends here in Austin, wine refrigerators do not qualify for the tax break.

However, water-saving products, usually denoted as WaterSense, also will be tax-exempt over the long holiday weekend. This includes products that —

  • conserve or retaining groundwater, including such live plants;
  • recharge water tables; and
  • decrease ambient air temperature, which limits water evaporation.

Qualifying water-saving products include soaker/drip-irrigation hoses, a moisture control for sprinkler/irrigation system, mulch, rain barrel, permeable ground cover surface, plants, trees and grasses, water-saving surfactants, soil and compost.

I know where the gardening hubby will be this coming weekend!

Florida goes tax holiday wild: While Texans like to think big, I must admit that Florida, when it comes to sales tax holidays, is out-doing the Lone Star State big-time.

The Sunshine State's early summer tax holiday season is spurred by what, unfortunately, is a terrible constant across the peninsula, disaster. Many Floridians are still dealing with last year's devastation from Hurricane Ian, but they know they also must get ready for similar threats this year.

That's why they'll be participating in the first of Florida's two disaster preparedness sales tax holidays, which starts May 27 and runs through June 9.

Hurricane coming ashore

Some examples of items that will be tax-free during the upcoming two-week sale tax holiday period are —

  • flashlights and lanterns costing $40 or less;
  • reusable ice costing $20 or less;
  • radios costing $50 or less;
  • tarps and ground anchors or tie down kits costing $100 or less;
  • coolers and portable power banks costing $60 or less;
  • batteries and fuel tanks costing $50 or less;
  • smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors costing $70 or less; and
  • generators costing $3,000 or less.

The disaster preparation tax holiday also includes a number of items related to the safe evacuation of household pets, as well as common household items that may helpful with disaster cleanup are also included. Falling into that clean-up category are laundry detergent, toilet paper and paper towels, soap, sunscreen, and various household cleaning products, with a sales price of $30 or less.

For end-of-summer planning purposes, Florida's second two-week-long tax holiday for disaster preparedness supplies will be from Aug. 26 through Sept. 8.

Tourism sales tax savings: But there's more to Florida than hurricanes. True to its tourism reputation, the Sunshine State also has a more expansive tax holiday, three months of no sales tax on certain recreational items.

What previously was Florida's Freedom Week sales tax holiday has been rechristened the Freedom Summer tax holiday. It begins on Memorial Day Monday, May 29, and continues through Labor Day Monday, Sept. 4.

During this time frame, the state and local jurisdictions won't collect sales tax on —

  • certain boating and water activity equipment and supplies;
  • camping equipment and supplies;
  • fishing equipment and supplies;
  • general outdoor supplies, including sunglasses, sunscreen, and grills;
  • residential pool chemicals, supplies and parts; and
  • children’s toys and athletic equipment.

Other entertainment tax savings: But wait, if you're not outdoorsy, there's more for you, too.

During Florida's Freedom Summer, there's no sales tax on entertainment purchases, including —

  • admissions to music, sporting, and cultural events;
  • tickets to movies and museums;
  • single admission or season tickets to theatre and dance performances;
  • state park admission and annual passes; and
  • use of fitness facilities will be tax free.

And since Florida's typically moderate weather doesn't have the usual season boundaries, the tax holiday takes that into account.

Any tickets, memberships, and passes purchased during the official holiday period are tax-exempt, as long as they are used by and/or the actual show will be any time from May 29 through Dec. 31.

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