Gasoline, diapers and essentials will be zero-rated in Florida

OCALA, Fla. — From gasoline to diapers to hurricane supplies, dozens of big-ticket and essential items will be zero-rated in Florida over the next few months.

Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday signed the “largest tax break in Florida state history,” a $1.2 billion plan designed to relieve Floridians from the highest level of inflation in 40 years.

One of the biggest benefits will be throughout October when gasoline is zero-rated. DeSantis said drivers would save about $0.25 per gallon.

In addition, children’s diapers, and clothing and footwear for children five and under will be zero-rated for an entire year from July 1 to June 30, 2023. Children’s books will be zero-rated for three months beginning July 14, 2023. may. until August 14.

“Families are going to be able to save for things that really matter to them,” DeSantis said Friday at a news conference in Ocala.

According to AAA, the national average for a Friday regular gas price is $4.28, while Florida’s average is $4.19.

“You look at the fuel, I haven’t seen it under $4 in a long time,” DeSantis said. “You haven’t seen any real relief.”

In addition to those tax breaks, DeSantis also announced a 14-day back-to-school tax holiday on Friday, which will run from July 25 through August 7. During this period, the following items will be exempt from tax:

  • Clothing, shoes and backpacks costing $100 or less
  • School supplies and learning aids costing $50 or less
  • Personal computers or computer accessories, including non-recreational software, costing $1,500 or less

A 14-day Disaster Preparedness Tax Holiday will run from May 28 to June 10, with the following items, among others, tax-free during this time:

  • Flashlights and lanterns costing $40 or less
  • Radios costing $50 or less
  • Tarps costing $100 or less
  • Coolers costing $60 or less
  • Batteries costing $50 or less
  • Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors costing $70 or less
  • Generators costing $1,000 or less

Additionally, the Freedom Week tax holiday will run from July 1 to July 7, when the following items are zero-rated:

  • Tickets for movies and museums
  • Single entry or season tickets for theater and dance performances
  • State park admission and annual passes
  • Use of fitness facilities
  • Tickets, subscriptions and passes to be used from July 1 to December 31

Finally, DeSantis on Friday announced the first-ever tax holiday for skilled worker tools. From September 3 to 9, the following tools used by skilled workers will be zero-rated:

  • Some hand and power tools
  • work boots
  • Security equipment
  • Shop lights
  • Tool boxes and belts
  • Plumbing and electrical equipment
  • Industry manuals and codebooks

The legislation provides $1.2 billion in tax relief over two years, which DeSantis says will cushion an uncertain economy.

“You’ve got inflation, now the Fed is going to keep raising interest rates and that’s going to slow the economy down,” DeSantis said. “So there are just a lot of storms on the horizon.”

The Florida Senate Minority Leader sees the one-year diaper tax holiday as a long-standing priority that she wants to make permanent.

“One in three families are in need of diapers,” said D-Senate Minority Leader Senator Lauren Book. “This will go a long way to keeping children and families safe and healthy.”

“A one-year tax break on children’s diapers is important, but it won’t cover the cost of rent,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando.

Eskamani supports the changes but fears they are too short and retailers will exploit them by raising prices to offset the benefits.

“Much more could have been done to ensure that for families struggling with a rent increase, they would have more money in their pockets,” Eskamani said.

Those who study taxes, like the independent research firm Tax Foundation, are skeptical of tax exemptions.

“Tax exemptions are generally more political than economic solutions,” said Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects for the Tax Foundation. “More broader sales tax exemptions, you see they’re displacing some of the consumption, but not really changing what they’re buying.”

Either way, the tax cuts are coming. DeSantis’ pen makes it official, with many provisions taking effect July 1.

And there are fears that the gas tax exemption may not go as planned. It is relying on the American Rescue Fund to make up the cut, but some lawmakers don’t think federal money can be used that way.

For more information on all upcoming tax benefits, Click here.

Christy J. Olson