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Retailers Promote Tax-Free Computers, Tablets for Back-To-School Tax Holiday


The state’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday gets underway in Florida next weekend and this year some expensive electronics also qualify. Shoppers will be able to purchase tablets and computers costing as much as $750, tax-free. The change comes as more schools are scrapping pen and paper in favor of online materials.                              

“That was a recognition that computers are basic school supplies now. That every level of education requires computer literacy, and we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to make those more affordable for Florida families," said John Fleming, spokesman for the Florida Retail Federation.  

More than a dozen other states also have a yearly sales tax holiday. Critics say the tax-free shopping days cost the state money. According estimates from the state department of revenue, Florida will forfeit about $28 million in tax revenue this year. But the Florida Retail Federation says its own study shows the state has actually made more money during the tax holiday in past years because people out trying to take advantage of the tax holiday also spend additional money on items they may not have purchased otherwise which are not tax-exempt.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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