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July 7, 2004

. . . From Attorney General Charlie Crist and the Florida Department of Revenue

For more information, contact:
Dave Bruns
DOR: 850-487-2747
pager 850-531-3259

Merchants, State Prepare for $95-Million Sales Tax Holidays

Florida retail merchants, gasoline dealers, and tax administrators are preparing for sales and gas tax holidays that will save Florida taxpayers more than $95 million over the summer of 2004, the Florida Department of Revenue announced Tuesday.

The Department of Revenue (DOR) mailed materials in June to more than 600,000 Florida retailers to help them prepare for the state's first sales tax holiday since 2001. The tax holiday begins one minute after midnight July 24 and extends through midnight August 1. The tax holiday law (HB 237) provides that:

  • All books selling for $50 or less during the tax holiday will be tax-free during the sales tax holiday. This is a new feature of the tax holiday law, enacted at the urging of Governor Jeb Bush as part of his initiative to encourage reading.
  • Shoppers won't pay state or local sales taxes during the tax holiday on clothing, footwear, and certain accessories with sales prices of $50 or less.
  • No state or local sales tax applies to certain school supplies selling for $10 or less during the tax holiday.

Also, DOR is preparing administrative rules, mailings, and other information to help Florida gasoline dealers understand how to implement the state's first-ever gasoline tax reduction. During August, the state's 24-cent gas tax will be reduced by 8 cents. The gas-tax reduction runs from 12:01 a.m. August 1 through midnight August 31, 2004.

The sales tax holiday will save taxpayers an estimated $35.5 million in state and local taxes. The gas tax reduction will save taxpayers an estimated $59.7 million, bringing the total savings from both holidays to $95.2 million. Florida gasoline retailers, wholesales, importers, and terminal suppliers will receive mailings from the Department during the week of July 5 to July 9, as well as informational materials in the last week of July.

State law requires gasoline retailers, wholesalers, terminal suppliers, and importers to pass these tax savings along to consumers, and authorizes Attorney General Charlie Crist's Office of Statewide Prosecutor to investigate cases in which the tax reductions aren't passed to consumers.