what’s in the tax return that DeSantis just signed

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s legislative session has been marred by grueling fights over abortion, transgender issues and other topics of the country’s “culture wars.”

But a major bill has received bipartisan praise and unanimous votes: a series of temporary tax breaks the state is promoting as its biggest ever.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the tax package on Friday, touting the first sales tax relief for all manner of essential and recreational items. State sales tax is 6%, but many items are also exempt from county sales tax.

“You’re going to see breaks for really critical needs, like gas, diapers, disaster supplies, tools for skilled trades, recreational activities, etc.,” DeSantis said Friday. “Families will be able to save for things that really matter to them.”

Related: Local Girl Scouts can be thanked as Florida considers pet supplies for tax holiday

Here are the top tax cuts and exemptions lawmakers passed this year, in the order in which they take effect. For more details, visit the Florida Department of Revenue website.

1. Children’s Books: May 14 — August 14, 2022

For three months, children’s books, regardless of price, will be exempt from sales tax. “Children’s books” are defined as “any fiction or non-fiction book primarily intended for children 12 years of age or younger.”

2. Disaster Preparedness Supplies: May 28 — June 10, 2022

The annual two-week state disaster preparedness tax holiday continues this year, with a slew of items exempt from state and county sales taxes, including:

  • Flashlights and lanterns worth $40 or less
  • A pack of batteries worth $50 or less
  • Coolers worth $60 or less
  • Portable generators worth $1,000 or less
  • Miscellaneous pet supplies

The Ministry of Revenue has a complete list of items.

3. “Freedom Week” Sales Tax Exemption: July 1 to July 7, 2022

For one week, tickets to live sporting and musical events, movies, museums, state parks and festivals will be tax-free. So will a variety of outdoor supplies, including:

  • The first $250 off the sale price of bikes and outdoor grills
  • Various fishing supplies including reels and rods
  • The first $200 spent on tents
  • The first $150 spent on residential pool and spa chemicals

The state has a full list on its website.

4. Diapers, clothing and footwear for children: July 1, 2022 — June 30, 2023

An idea proposed by Democrats in the Legislature for years, Republicans this year agreed to a one-year sales tax exemption for children’s diapers. Another exemption makes infant and toddler clothing, clothing, and footwear primarily intended for children 5 years of age or younger exempt from tax for the same period.

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5. Impact-resistant windows, doors and garage doors: July 1, 2022 — June 30, 2024

For two years, these items will be exempt from sales tax for commercial and non-commercial use.

6. Energy Star Appliances: July 1, 2022 — June 30, 2023

The following Energy Star labeled items are exempt from sales tax if purchased for non-commercial use:

  • Clothes dryers sold for $1,500 or less
  • Refrigerators or refrigerator/freezer combos sold for $3,000 or less
  • Washing machines sold for $1,500 or less
  • Water heaters sold for $1,500 or less

7. Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday: July 25 — August 7, 2022

Lawmakers this year renewed the annual sales tax exemption for school supplies, with the following items being exempt:

  • Clothing, shoes and some accessories with a selling price of $100 or less per item
  • Certain school supplies with a sale price of $50 or less per item
  • Learning aids and puzzles priced at $30 or less
  • Personal computers and certain computer accessories with a retail price of $1,500 or less, when purchased for household or personal non-commercial use

More details are available on the state website.

8. Sales Tax Exemption on Tools for Skilled Workers: September 3 – September 9, 2022

This first tax holiday applies to the purchase of a variety of tools and supplies, including:

  • Toolboxes worth $75 or less
  • Work boots sold for $175 or less per pair
  • Power tools selling for $300 or less per item

The full list of eligible items is on the state website.

9. Gasoline Tax Suspension: October 1 to October 31, 2022

To mitigate record gasoline prices, lawmakers this year agreed to suspend state gasoline tax collection for one month (including the month before the November election, when DeSantis and every legislative seat are up for election).

The suspension of gas tax collection means motorists will save about $0.25 per gallon, or about $1 billion in total. State lawmakers are filling that hole with federal coronavirus stimulus dollars allocated by Congress.

Related: Florida lawmakers agree to suspend gasoline tax in October

10. Grand Prix tickets, property tax exemptions for widowers, etc.

The tax package, House Bill 7071also includes many other tax exemptions, including: