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Florida approves tampon tax exemption, sales tax holidays


 Diapers for humans may soon be exempt in Florida. Diapers for animals would remain taxable.

Update 5.25.2017: Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 7109 today. There will be a 3-day back-to-school sales tax holiday August 4–6, and a 3-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday June 2–4. The sales tax exemption for tampons and similar products is set to take effect January 1, 2018. Diapers will remain taxable.

The Florida Legislature has approved sales tax exemptions for diapers, incontinence products, and feminine hygiene products. House Bill 7109 also seeks to create three sales tax holidays: one for veterans of the United States armed forces; one for clothing, school supplies, personal computers, and personal computer-related accessories; and one for disaster preparedness supplies.

An exemption for disaster preparedness

HB 7109 would establish a sales tax holiday for disaster preparedness supplies, May 27 – June 4, 2017. Qualifying items include but aren’t limited to:

  • Portable generators (for use during a power outage) priced at $750 or less
  • Portable self-powered light sources with a sales price of $20 or less
  • Self-contained first-aid kits costing $30 or less
  • Tarpaulins (or other flexible waterproof sheeting) and ground anchor systems or tie-down kits priced at $50 or less

Participation in the disaster preparedness sales tax holiday would be mandatory for retailers selling qualifying products.

An exemption for families

A back-to-school sales tax holiday would run August 4 – 13, 2017, and exempt the following:

  • Clothing, wallets, and certain bags with a sales price of $100 or less
  • School supplies costing $15 or less
  • The first $1,000 of the sales price of personal computers and personal computer-related accessories

Retailers may choose to not participate in the sales tax holiday and must notify the Florida Department of Revenue in writing by August 1 if they intend to collect sales tax on qualifying items during that time. Non-participating businesses must also post a copy of that notice “in a conspicuous location at its place of business.”

An exemption for the incontinent

Diapers, incontinence undergarments, and incontinence liners and pads would be exempt from sales and use tax starting January 1, 2018. The products must be for human use — cat and dog diapers would remain taxable.

An exemption for veterans

A one-day annual sales tax holiday for veterans would be held on November 11 (Veteran’s Day). During that 24-hour period, clothing and footwear with a sales price of $60 or less per item or pair would be exempt when purchased by eligible veterans at participating retailers.

As with the back-to-school sales tax holiday, retailers may choose to not participate. Non-participating vendors must notify the Florida Department of Revenue in writing by November 1 and conspicuously post a copy of that notice at their place of business.

Veterans must present proof of military status to participating retailers to claim the exemption.

An exemption for women

Menstrual cups, pantiliners, sanitary napkins, tampons, and other products used to absorb or contain menstrual flow would be exempt from Florida sales and use tax beginning January 1, 2018.

An exemption for students

Retail sales of textbooks “required or recommended for use in a course offered by a public postsecondary educational institution” and certain nonpublic postsecondary educational institutions would be exempt. This exemption would begin immediately upon enactment and expire June 30, 2018.

To claim the exemption, students must present to the retailer a physical or electronic copy of their student ID number and a course syllabus or list of required or recommended textbooks and instructional materials. This could complicate ecommerce textbook sales.

Governor’s approval required

The measure is now awaiting Governor Rick Scott’s signature. Scott is a vocal proponent of tax-free periods. His 2017 budget proposal included four of them: a 10-day back-to-school holiday; a disaster preparedness holiday; an outdoor holiday for camping and fishing supplies; and a veterans’ holiday. His budget did not include an exemption for feminine hygiene products.

Changes in product taxability and sales tax holidays complicate compliance for vendors, often at great expense. Tax automation software simplifies tax compliance for all businesses and facilitates transitions caused by rate and product taxability changes. Learn more about end-to-end tax automation solutions.

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Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.