The Florida Retail Federation is excited about the upcoming BACK-TO-SCHOOL SALES TAX HOLIDAY taking place August 5-7 and the increased sales it bring for Florida retailers. We wanted to remind retailers of one of the changes to this year’s sales tax holiday: that eligible businesses are allowed to OPT OUT of participating when less than five percent (5%) of their gross sales of tangible personal property during calendar year 2015 were sales of items that would be exempt during the tax holiday period. Businesses with multiple locations must include the gross sales of all their Florida locations in this calculation. For businesses that were not in operation during the 2015 calendar year, this option is available when less than five percent (5%) of the business’s inventory of items for sale are items that would be tax exempt during the tax holiday.

Qualifying businesses choosing not to participate in the tax holiday must send a written notice to the Department by August 1, 2016. The notice must be on business letterhead and state that the business meets the qualifications stated above and has chosen not to participate in the tax holiday. The notice must be signed by an individual authorized to sign on behalf of the business. Businesses with multiple locations may send a single notice stating that all their Florida locations will not participate in the tax holiday.

Mail the letter to: Account Management MS 1-5730
Sales Tax Holiday
Florida Department of Revenue
5050 W Tennessee St
Tallahassee FL 32399-0160

You must also EMAIL a scanned signed letter to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or FAX the letter to: 850.922.0859.

Qualified businesses that do not participate in the tax holiday must post a notice at each business location stating their choice not to participate in the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. The notice must be posted in a conspicuous location at the place of business. The following is a suggested notice:

In accordance with Chapter 2016-220, Laws of Florida, (Name of Business) has chosen not to participate in the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, August 5-7, 2016. For questions, please contact (name of contact person at business) at (contact telephone number or email address).

[Signature of Authorized Individual]
[Title]

For Immediate Release: July 18, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

The state’s leading retail advocate filed suit today to prevent Coral Gables from enforcing the ban, thereby protecting Florida businesses from another attempt to circumvent state laws

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, today announced that in response to the City of Coral Gables’ recent decision to enact a local ordinance banning the use of polystyrene products by local businesses, that it has filed suit in Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit Court for a declaratory judgment and injunction asking the court to declare that this is not a lawful exercise of their authority thereby preventing the city from enforcing their polystyrene ban.

“The City of Coral Gables is another example of a local government believing that the laws of the State of Florida don’t apply to them in spite of the fact that the Florida Legislature passed a law this session that preempted municipalities from passing a local ordinance banning the use of polystyrene,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “Thousands of our retail members rely on polystyrene as a safe and affordable way to serve and transport food and beverages to their customers, but implementing a patchwork of different ordinances like this, which could change from street to street or block to block, is not only confusing to customers but also difficult for retailers. It is always our hope to work with local governments regarding any concerns they have that could impact retailers, but FRF member businesses have been hit time and again with overreaching and burdensome regulations which requires us to push back on behalf of our members.”

FRF is working with the law firm of Lehtinen Schultz Riedi Catalano de la Fuente, PLLC, based out of Wellington, FL, with lead counsel Dexter Lehtinen. To see a copy of the suit filed, please click HERE.

This local injunction banning polystyrene is just the latest in a series of recent attempts by local governments to circumvent previously established state laws. Some examples include the proposed banning of plastic bags, helium and trying to increase the minimum wage, all have been attempted in the past year and all would adversely impact local businesses and Florida families.

“What local governments don’t realize is that banning these items not only negatively impacts their local businesses, but also impacts their residents by forcing these businesses to find other more costly and potentially less safe materials. This raises the cost of doing business, and possibly forcing these increased costs onto the backs of hardworking families,” said Miller. “These local governments are also putting their local businesses at a competitive disadvantage and encouraging local customers to spend their money in nearby cities, and depriving the local government of the taxes. We hope the City of Coral Gables and the other cities interested in passing local ordinances rethink their decisions and the impacts it would have on their communities.”

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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For Immediate Release: June 30, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

FRF’s efforts this past session allow pharmacists to dispense lifesaving opioid antidote without a prescription; 12,000 opioid overdoses in 2014

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, celebrates the ability of pharmacists statewide to dispense Naloxone without a prescription beginning July 1. Naloxone is effective in the event of an overdose by reversing the effects of heroin or other opioid drugs long enough to get the patient to a hospital, and can be administered by injection or nasal spray.

“Prescription drug abuse continues to be a public health and safety risk, but effective July 1, pharmacists will be able to dispense Naloxone without a prescription and potentially save the lives of those who have overdosed on opioids,” said Randy Miller, FRF President & CEO. “We’re proud of our efforts in working with our partners in the legislature, the healthcare industry and law enforcement by supporting legislation this past session that will provide greater access to this life saving antidote.”

In 2014, Florida hospitals handled nearly 12,000 prescription opioid overdoses and 1,925 heroin overdoses. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 6.5 million Americans misused a prescription drug in 2014, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths, which include prescription and illicit drugs, during the same year.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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For Immediate Release: June 30, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850) 701-3015

Average per person spending up slightly, and with more people celebrating, total spending also expected to be higher

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Good news for Florida’s retailers as the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, says that per person spending will be up slightly over last year’s high, with more people expected to celebrate the holiday leading to higher total spending. Consumers will spend an average of $71.34 per household on food for barbecues and picnics, supplies and decorations, essentially unchanged from last year’s $71.23. Total spending nationwide is expected to reach almost $7 billion, up 1.4 percent from 2015.

“Floridians will celebrate Independence Day this year by spending in record numbers, making it potentially a very prosperous holiday weekend for our retailers statewide,” said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. “Low gas prices, nice weather and a healthy state economy all add up to a fun and successful celebration for consumers and retail business owners.”

According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s 2016 Independence Day Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 65 percent plan to attend a cookout/barbecue/picnic while 43 percent will watch fireworks or join another community celebration and 12 percent will attend a parade.

The survey also found that American families are well-stocked on patriotic items: Nearly two-thirds own a U.S. flag, half own patriotic-themed apparel such as T-shirts and hats and a third own patriotic decorations. Nonetheless, 25 percent plan to purchase more of these items in preparation for the holiday.

The weekend is also a popular time for travel and vacations with 13 percent, or 31 million, saying they will head out of town. With gasoline prices relatively low, only 21 percent said gas prices will affect their travel plans, down from 22 percent last year and a peak of 47 percent when gas prices were higher in 2011.

The survey of 6,811 consumers was conducted June 1-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2010 sales of $2.4 trillion. www.nrf.com.

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