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Retailers encourage Floridians to buy tax-free outdoor gear


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July is one of the most patriotic months in the U.S., and the Florida Retail Federation encourages Floridians to take advantage of patriotic tax-free offerings on outdoor gear and event purchases at stores and venues.

The FRF notes that on July 1, Florida consumers will be able to participate in the Freedom Month Sales Tax Holiday. The Sunshine State’s tax-free discounts run from July 1 through July 31, but they are only for specific products in Florida.

Still, the FRF urges Floridians to shop locally for a tax-free advantage on outdoor and recreational supplies.

“July is Floridians’ favorite month to take time off work and enjoy the beauty of our state,” said Scott Shalley, President and CEO of the FRF. “The Freedom Month Sales Tax Holiday allows consumers to shop stress-free in time for the Fourth of July holiday. Florida retailers are here to help you find all the supplies needed to enjoy your summer plans.”

The FRF particularly highlights its “Find It in Florida” program, which helps guide Floridians to their local retailers to take advantage of the tax-free month.

“When shoppers ‘Find It In Florida,’ they support local retailers while saving more,” Shalley said.

July is a tax-free month, and most of it focuses on boating activity supplies, camping and fishing gear, sporting equipment, entertainment, and more. This year’s tax holiday also offers tax-free savings on eligible electric scooters.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Freedom Month Sales Tax Holiday in May. Some live sporting and entertainment events have tax-free exemptions from July 1 through the end of the year.

Here’s a glance at many of the items eligible for the tax-free month in July in Florida:

The criteria for tax-free savings on boating and water activity supplies include:

• Life jackets and coolers with a $75 or less sales price.

• Recreational pool tubes, floats, inflatable chairs and pool toys with a $35 or less sales price.

• Safety flares with a sales price of $50 or less.

• Water skis, wakeboards, kneeboards, and recreational inflatable water tubes or floats that can be towed at a sales price of $150 or less.

• Paddleboards and surfboards with a sales price of $300 or less.

• Canoes and kayaks with a sales price of $500 or less.

• Paddles and oars with a sales price of $75 or less.

• Snorkels, goggles and swimming masks with a $25 or less sales price.

Floridians may also get tax-free purchases on the following camping supplies:

• Tents with a sales price of $200 or less.

• Sleeping bags, portable hammocks, camping stoves and collapsible camping chairs with a $50 or less sales price.

• Camping lanterns and flashlights with a $30 or less sales price.

Florida shoppers more interested in fishing can find savings on:

• Individual rods and reels with a $75 or less sales price.

• A set of rods and reels with a $150 or less sales price.

• Tackle boxes or bags with a $30 or less sales price.

• Individually sold bait or fishing tackle with a sales price of $5 or less.

• Multiple bait and tackle items are sold with a sales price of $10 or less.

Other recreational savings include tax-free purchases of other supplies, such as:

• Eligible electric scooters with a sales price of $500 or less. Eligible scooters must have two or fewer wheels, with or without a seat or saddle for the rider, equipped with an electric motor, weigh less than 75 pounds and measure less than two feet wide, with a maximum speed under 35 mph.

• Sunscreen or insect repellant with a $15 or less sales price.

• Sunglasses with a sales price of $100 or less.

• Binoculars with a sales price of $200 or less.

• Water bottles with a sales price of $30 or less.

• Hydration packs with a sales price of $50 or less.

• Outdoor gas or charcoal grills with a $250 or less sales price.

• Bicycle helmets with a sales price of $50 or less.

• Bicycles with a sales price of $500 or less.

• Individual residential pool and spa replacement parts, nets, filters, lights and covers with a $100 or less sales price.

• Residential pool and spa chemicals purchased with a sales price of $150 or less.

Tax-free items include the following events scheduled to be held from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2024:

• Live music events.

• Live sporting events.

• Movies.

• Entry to a museum, including annual passes.

• Entry to a state park, including annual passes.

• Entry to a ballet, play or musical theater performance.

• Season tickets for ballets, plays, music events or musical theater performances.

• Entry to fairs, festivals, or cultural events.

• Access or use of private and/or membership clubs providing physical fitness facilities.

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.