Freedom Week Removes Sales Taxes for Outdoor Activities

Floridians facing the economic pressure of inflation will get a second chance to save on “freedom” starting Friday.

Wrapped around July 4 for the second year in a row, a sales tax “holiday” dubbed “Freedom Week” will offer tax breaks on a wide range of recreational activities and outdoor equipment.

Lawmakers included Freedom Week in an annual tax package (HB 7071) that also provides other tax holidays and sales tax exemptions. The state has already held a disaster preparedness tax holiday around the start of hurricane season on June 1 and will hold a back-to-school tax holiday later this summer.

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By the numbers

Last year, the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimated that Freedom Week would reduce state revenue by $42 million and local revenue by $12.7 million.

This year, the projections are a $54.5 million reduction in state revenue and a $16.1 million reduction in local revenue.

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What tax benefits can Floridians get?

During Freedom Week, which will last until July 7, people will get sales tax relief on things like tickets to concerts, movies, ball games and museum visits, as well as well as on supplies and equipment for outdoor activities ranging from fishing rods and bicycle helmets. to grills and kayaks.

In addition to Freedom Week, other tax breaks will take effect on Friday. For the next year, sales taxes will be waived on children’s diapers and Energy Star washing machines, dryers, water heaters and refrigerators.

Also starting Friday, two-year tax relief will begin on impact-resistant windows, doors and garage doors.

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Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Party politics dictate opinion on sales tax exemption

“With inflation pressures and worries out there, we want to see people continue to support our local retailers,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, which has long lobbied for tax exemptions.

Before signing the tax package on May 6 at a Sam’s Club in Ocala, Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted the impacts of inflation and described Freedom Week as a way for “families to afford a fun summer “.

Not everyone is so in love with tax exemptions.

The Tax Foundation’s Center for State Tax Policy, based in Washington, D.C., questions the economic benefits of tax exemptions, citing studies showing that consumers are changing the timing of purchases and that, in some cases, retailers have increased prices during discount periods.

“States are sitting on surpluses while many taxpayers grapple with the burden of high inflation,” Jared Walczak, the foundation’s vice president of state projects, told The New York Times this month. this.

“State tax holidays tend to be political gimmicks,” Walczak continued.

Lawmakers approved the first Freedom Week in 2021, in part to entice people who were holding back from coming out because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State economists and the Florida Retail Federation predict that more people will enjoy the holidays this year.

“A lot of our retailers run their own promotional offers to try and get people out,” Shalley said. “It’s an opportunity to save money on fun stuff. We usually talk about disaster preparedness and back to school. But in this case, with freedom week, we are talking about outdoor activities, recreational products, fishing gear and a wide range of things.

Here are some of the sales tax-exempt purchases during Freedom Week:

  • Tickets purchased for live music, live sports, plays, films, fairs and festivals, for events through December 31.
  • Admission to museums and state parks, including annual passes.
  • The first $5 off the price of bait and tackle.
  • The first $15 off the price of sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • The first $25 off the price of snorkels, goggles and swimming masks.
  • The first $30 off the price of fishing tackle boxes, water bottles, camping lanterns and flashlights.
  • The first $35 off the price of recreational pool tubes, pool floats, inflatable chairs and pool toys.
  • The first $50 off the price of sleeping bags, portable hammocks, camp stoves, foldable camp chairs, and bicycle helmets.
  • The first $75 off the price of life jackets, coolers, paddles, oars, fishing rods and reels.
  • The first $100 of the price of sunglasses.
  • The first $150 off the price of water skis, wakeboards and kneeboards.
  • The first $200 off the price of tents and binoculars.
  • The first $250 off the price of bikes and grills.
  • The first $300 off the price of paddle boards and surfboards.
  • The first $500 on the price of canoes and kayaks.