CRESTVIEW — Escambia Farms resident Tracie Gasca anticipates saving money when she takes her daughter Kaylie shopping during this weekend's sales tax holiday.
"We are waiting to go clothes shopping that weekend, plus it's her birthday," Gasca said of the 10-year-old Baker School student.
To download the Okaloosa County Schools list of items with no sales tax, click here >>
Students, parents and area stores are preparing for three days of back-to-school bargains during Florida's annual tax-free holiday this weekend.
For the first time, computers and many related accessories that cost $750 or less will be included in the tax holiday.
"They (state officials) finally learned that laptops are a big part of education," Staples of Crestview store manager Sasha Jovanovic said. "That is going to be huge for us ...”
The tax-free weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and continues through midnight Sunday.
"No sales tax will be collected on sales of clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $75 or less, or on certain school supplies selling for $15 or less," the Okaloosa County School District website stated.
Ascertain what's tax-free
Because some accessories related to tax-free items are taxable, the school district encouraged shoppers to check with store clerks to determine what is taxable and what isn't.
For example, while swimming suits are tax-free, tax will be collected on swim fins and masks. Though laptops, "non-recreational software" and blank CDs are tax-free, game systems, printer paper and compuer bags are taxable.
Staples, like many stores, will offer sales on school supplies, and will create displays to help shoppers head straight tax-free bargains.
"You can get things well below cost," Jovanovic said. "It's going to be a huge weekend for us."
Some local stores, including Wal-Mart and Big Lots, plan to have area schools' student supply lists available to help parents shop during the tax holiday. Some schools post the supplies lists on their websites.
Gasca said she appreciates that the state has recognized the financial hardship of back-to-school shopping.
"I'm a penny pincher, too, so I like to get things on sale and clip coupons," she said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.