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Puerto Rico’s back-to-school tax-free holiday is this weekend

Puerto Rico Treasury Department Secretary Francisco Parés announced that the second tax-free period for school uniforms and materials will take place Jan. 13-14.

“School uniforms and materials will be exempt from the sales and use tax from 12:01 a.m. Jan. 13, until 12 midnight Jan. 14. We urge parents and guardians of students to separate these dates and benefit from the waiver,” Parés said.  

Section 4030.20(B) of the 2011 Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code exempts school uniforms and materials from the sales and use tax during a two-day period during the months of July and January.

This time around, the date for schools to resume classes after the Christmas holidays was close to the Three Kings Day festivities. However, members of the Retail Trade Association agreed on the determined days for the exemptions after the holidays, noting that the second school semester mainly involves replacement purchases.

School uniforms are considered to be pieces of clothing and footwear required by educational institutions, which do not replace ordinary clothing. These items do not include separately sold pieces such as strap buckles, costume masks and patches.

The materials that will be exempt from paying sales and use tax will be retail purchased school, art, music, instructional materials and computer storage media, including compact discs and flash drives. 

Other exempt items include folders, book bags, calculators, chalk, erasers, crayons, tape, accordions, expandable, plastic and manila envelopes.

In addition, glue, stickers, markers, index cards and storage boxes, lunch boxes, loose and lined paper, copy paper, grid paper, tracing paper, colored paper, construction paper, pencils, pencil boxes, pencil sharpeners, pens, protractors, rulers, and scissors will also be exempt from the sales and use tax.

All text books and electronic books (digital, cyberbooks or e-books), are exempt from the sales and use tax throughout the year and the exemption is applicable to both purchases and rentals. Retail notebooks, regardless of size, are also exempt from the sales and use tax payment throughout the year.

Purchases made through lay-away plans, vouchers or rain checks, by mail, telephone, email or internet, as well as gift certificates and cards, will qualify for the exemption, as long as the final payment is made during the exemption period established in the Internal Revenue Circular Letter.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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