This year, in addition to sales tax holidays for items related to back-to-school and hurricane preparedness, Floridians, during the first week in July, can purchase items tax-free that they use to enjoy the many outdoor recreational activities and events in the state.
The Florida Senate today passed House Bill 7061, Taxation. It passed the House on April 23, and now heads to the governor’s office to be signed into law. The legislation delivers tax relief to families and businesses across the state, through sales tax holidays that offer a savings for Floridians preparing for the upcoming 2021 Hurricane Season and the 2021-2022 school year, as well as individuals and families enjoying outdoor activities and events. The bill also expands the current tax exemption for affordable housing properties and creates a permanent sales tax exemption for items that support independent living. The bill also expands the current tax exemption for affordable housing properties and creates a permanent sales tax exemption for items that support independent living.
“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,” said the Senate bill sponsor Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-District 39). “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.”
The bill establishes the 2021 Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday. During the week of July 1 – July 7, 2021, purchases of admissions to music events, sporting events, cultural events, specified performances, movies, museums, state park annual passes, and fitness facilities for events held from July 1 – December 31, 2021, will be tax free. Additionally, purchases of season tickets are also exempted.
The Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday also applies to sales of boating and water activity supplies, camping supplies, fishing supplies, general outdoor supplies, and sports equipment.
For boating and water enthusiasts, the tax holiday applies to the first $75 of the sales price of life jackets and coolers; the first $50 of the sales price of safety flares; the first $150 of the sales price of water skis, wakeboards, kneeboards, and recreational inflatable water tubes or floats capable of being towed; the first $300 of the sales price of paddleboards and surfboards; the first $500 of the sales price of canoes and kayaks; the first $75 of the sales price of paddles and oars; and the first $25 of the sales price of snorkels, goggles, and swimming masks.
For campers, the tax holiday applies to the first $200 of the sales price of tents; the first $50 of the sales price of sleeping bags, portable hammocks, camping stoves, and collapsible camping chairs; and the first $30 of the sales price of camping lanterns and flashlights.
For fishermen, the tax holiday applies to the first $75 of the sales price of rods and reels, if sold individually, or the first $150 of the sales price if sold as a set; the first $30 of the sales price of tackle boxes or bags; and the first $5 of the sale price of bait or fishing tackle, if sold individually, or the first $10 of the sales price if multiple items are sold together.
And for general outdoor supplies, the tax holiday applies to the first $15 of the sales price of sunscreen or insect repellant; the first $100 of the sales price of sunglasses; the first $200 of the sales price of binoculars; the first $30 of the sales price of water bottles; the first $50 of the sales price of hydration packs; the first $250 of the sales price of outdoor gas or charcoal grills; the first $50 of the sales price of bicycle helmets; and the first $250 of the sales price of bicycles.
For sports enthusiasts, the tax holiday applies to any item used in individual or team sports, not including clothing or footwear, selling for $40 or less.
On the more serious side, the legislation creates a permanent sales tax exemption for items that assist in independent living for Florida’s seniors or disabled. When purchased for noncommercial, home or personal use, the exemption applies to bed transfer handles selling for $60 or less, bed rails selling for $110 or less, grab bars selling for $100 or less, and shower seats selling for $100 or less.
Florida law currently offers property owners who provide affordable housing to low-income individuals and families a 50 percent discount for property taxes on these units. The discount applies only to properties with more than 70 units and begins after the property has been recorded as an affordable housing property for 15 years. To incentivize more property owners to offer affordable housing units, the bill expands the property tax discount to 100 percent of property taxes. Continuing the current requirement, the 100 percent exemption does not begin until the property has been recorded as an affordable housing property for 15 years.
Continuing a legislative tradition dating back to 2014, the legislation creates a 10-day “back-to-school” sales tax holiday from July 31 to August 9, 2021, for clothing, footwear, and backpacks costing $60 or less, school supplies costing $15 or less, and the first $1,000 of the sales tax price of personal computers or personal computer-related accessories.
It also creates a 10-day “disaster preparedness” sales tax holiday from May 28 to June 6, 2021, for disaster preparedness supplies. Some examples of tax-free items include: flashlights and lanterns costing $40 or less; radios costing $50 or less; tarps costing $100 or less, coolers costing $60 or less, batteries costing $50 or less; and, generators costing $1,000 or less.
“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,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-District 10). “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.”