For Immediate Release: July 25, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Popular annual shopping holiday takes place August 4-6; Eligible technology items up to $750 are tax free meaning significant savings for Florida families

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retailers, is reminding Floridians and retailers of the upcoming back-to-school sales tax holiday weekend, taking place August 4-6. Serving as the state’s 2nd busiest shopping “holiday,” the weekend is expected to bring in near record-breaking sales, while Floridians are able to stretch their hard-earned dollars further and employees benefit from additional jobs and wages. Additionally, this year’s holiday sees the return of eligible technology items up to $750 tax free, which means substantial savings for Florida families.

“We are looking forward to another successful Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, and applaud Governor Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the significance it has on our hard-working families and the 270,000 retailers throughout the State of Florida,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Each year, shoppers show up in record numbers and provide a tremendous economic boost overall to retailers’ sales numbers while they are able to afford more of the supplies they need.”

Nationally, the average family is expected to spend $687.72 on apparel and accessories, shoes and school supplies, up eight percent from 2016, according to FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. Nationally, sales for this back-to-school shopping weekend are expected to reach $83.6 billion, a more than 10 percent increase from last year’s $75.8 billion.

Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $687.72 each, for a total of $29.5 billion, an 8 percent increase from last year’s $27.3 billion. Total spending is the second-highest in the history of the survey following a peak of $30.3 billion in 2012.

According to the survey, back-to-school shoppers plan to spend $10.2 billion on clothing (purchased by 95 percent of respondents), $8.8 billion on electronics such as computers or calculators (60 percent), $5.6 billion on shoes (93 percent) and $4.9 billion on school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes (97 percent). Parents say they will spend an average of $238.89 on clothing, $204.33 on electronics, $130.38 on shoes and $114.12 on school supplies. While consumers plan to spend more across all categories, shoes and school supplies seeing the highest expected increase.

For the first time, the survey asked consumers what types of electronics they plan to purchase. Among electronics shoppers, 45 percent said they would buy a laptop computer while more than a third plan to purchase a tablet (35 percent) or a calculator (35 percent). One in four plan to purchase electronic accessories such as a mouse, flash drive or charger.

According to the survey, 65 percent of back-to-school shoppers say half or more of their purchases are a direct result of their children’s influence, up from 57 percent last year. And while children’s influence is growing, so too is their willingness to help their parents pay the bill: teenagers will contribute $37.64, up from last year’s $32.90, and pre-teens will contribute $27.09, up from last years $20.08.

More families will tackle their back-to-school lists early this year with 27 percent beginning two months before the beginning of school, up from 22 percent last year. But not all shoppers are early birds, 21 percent will wait until the last week or two before school starts, about the same as last year’s 22 percent. Of those shopping early, 60 percent say they are trying to spread out their budgets, 48 percent don’t want to miss out on sales and 43 percent want to avoid crowds.

When it comes to where parents will buy, they are shopping across a variety of retailers; 57 percent will shop at department stores, 54 percent at discount stores, 46 percent each at clothing stores and online, and 36 percent at office supply stores. For those shopping online, 91 percent plan to take advantage of free shipping and 54 percent will buy online and pick up in-store.

The back-to-school sales tax holiday has been one of the most popular shopping holidays among consumers and retailers and has been providing vital tax relief since it first began. The holiday has been recognized in 16 out of the 20 years since it first began in 1998. This year will mark the 8th year in a row it has taken place. For the complete list of eligible tax-free items, see floridarevenue.com/.

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.

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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: August 1, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Retailers once again expecting big crowds this year as parents, students and business professionals take advantage of tax free shopping

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, reminds Florida families, consumers and its 270,000 retailers that the popular annual back-to-school shopping season takes place this weekend, August 5-7. This annual tax free weekend allows Sunshine State families to save on supplies and clothes to prepare their children and themselves for the upcoming year. Nationally, the average family is expected to spend $673.57 on apparel and accessories, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36. Nationally, sales for this back-to-school shopping weekend are expected to reach $75 billion, up from $68 billion last year.

“The back-to-school sales tax holiday remains one of the most popular shopping periods of the year in Florida with students, parents and business professionals looking forward to saving money on the clothes and items they need for school or work,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “We’re excited about what the weekend will bring in terms of increased sales for businesses and the important savings for consumers.”

The holiday means big savings for shoppers and big business for retailers, which has become the second largest shopping weekend after Black Friday. As part of the holiday, shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax on back-to-school items including clothing and shoes priced at $60 or less, and school supplies less than $15 per item. For a complete listing of all eligible items, please click HERE.

This year’s back-to-school sales tax holiday allows eligible businesses 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. Qualified businesses had until August 1 to notify the Department of Revenue that they were opting out and must post a notice at each business location stating their choice not to participate in the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday.

K-12 Spending
According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s recent survey, families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36 for a total of $27.3 billion, according to the survey. That’s an increase of 9.6 percent from last year’s $24.9 billion and compares with a total growth of 54.8 percent over the past 10 years.

The numbers follow a pattern in which spending often increases one year as families stock up on supplies only to drop off the next as they get a second year out of longer-lasting items like backpacks or computers. Spending then increases in the third year once children outgrow clothing or items need to be replaced.

According to the survey, K-12 consumers plan to spend $9.54 billion on clothing (purchased by 95 percent), $8.27 billion on electronics such as computers or calculators (57 percent), $5.12 billion on shoes (94 percent) and $4.37 billion on school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes (96 percent). Parents say they will spend an average $235.39 on clothing, $204.06 on electronics, $126.35 on shoes and $107.76 on school supplies.

While discount stores continue to be the choice of the largest share of shoppers at 61 percent, the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. But 46 percent of parents said they would shop online, a dramatic jump from last year’s 36 percent. The vast majority of online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping (89 percent of those surveyed) and conveniences like buy online, pick up in store (54 percent).

Bigger Kids, Bigger Bills
College students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to the survey. That’s down slightly from $899.18 last year, but total spending is expected to be up at $48.5 billion compared with $43.1 billion last year due to an increase of consumers shopping for back-to-college.

The survey found college consumers plan to spend $11.54 billion on electronics (purchased by 50 percent), $7.49 billion on clothing (70 percent), $6.23 billion on dorm furnishings (43 percent), $5.78 billion on food items (69 percent), $4.26 billion on personal care items (72 percent), $3.84 billion on shoes (67 percent), $3.53 billion on school supplies (81 percent), $3.14 billion on gift cards (36 percent) and $2.7 billion on branded collegiate gear (49 percent). Spending on electronics will average $211.33, apparel and accessories $137.29, dorm furnishings $114.21, food $105.88, personal care items $78.03, shoes $70.39, school supplies $64.64, gift cards $57.54 and branded gear $49.41.

Discount stores still account for the largest share of college shopping, visited by 44 percent of consumers, but the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. Only 34 percent will visit a college bookstore, also a new low. Online shopping is the choice of 38 percent of shoppers, down from 39 percent last year and a peak of 45 percent two years ago.

The survey of 6,809 consumers asked about both back-to-school and back-to-college plans was conducted June 30-July 6 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.

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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Published in Media Relations

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]

Published in Media Relations
We want to remind you that, thanks to FRF’s efforts this past legislative session, Florida will hold a back-to-school sales tax holiday, taking place August 5-7. Each business should be receiving the Department of Revenue’s Tax Information Publication listing all the eligible items for the holiday in the coming days, but we wanted to share this document with you as soon as possible so you can begin preparing your business accordingly. Reminder that there is an opt-out provision for those qualified businesses whose gross sales of eligible items comprises less than 5%. Please refer to this document for a complete list of eligible items along with more info on the opt-out provision.
Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: August 3, 2015
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Millions of Floridians planning to take advantage of popular tax-free shopping holiday by saving money on key school supplies, clothing and technology

TALLAHASSEE, FL –The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, reminds Florida families that the state’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday begins this Friday, August 7 and lasts through August 16. This 10-day extension equals the longest back-to-school shopping holiday since it was first started in 1998 and allows shoppers two full weekends to complete their buying needs.

“We are excited about the extended sales tax holiday that families and shoppers of all ages will be able to take advantage of,” said FRF President/CEO Rick McAllister. “Florida’s more than 270,000 retailers have been preparing for this popular holiday and are ready with great sales and opportunities for shoppers to save on clothing, supplies and technology items.”

Published in Media Relations
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