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Treasury announces back-to-school sales tax-free holiday 

Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés-Alicea has announced the two sales-tax-free periods for the purchase of uniforms and school supplies for the 2023-’24 school year.

“We have issued Internal Revenue Circular 23-11, establishing the first period of IVU [Spanish acronym for sales and use tax] exemption on certain school purchases, starting at midnight on July 14 until 11:59 p.m. on July 15. The second period of IVU-free sales will be from January 4, 2024, at midnight, until 11:59 p.m. on January 5, 2024,” the official said. “We urge all parents and guardians to check the school lists to prepare for the start of the new school year.”

It should be noted that the term “school uniform” specifically refers to the uniform required by the educational institution to be worn by students and cannot have general or continuous use outside of school. In addition, school uniforms include clothing and footwear that complement one or more pieces of the uniform, as required by the educational entity.

The following items are not included in the tax-free sales: separately sold belt buckles, costume masks, patches and emblems; sewing materials, equipment and supplies; briefcases; cosmetics; hair accessories; handbags; handkerchiefs; jewelry; protective equipment against injuries or illnesses such as masks, face shields and helmets; and sports and recreational equipment such as ballet shoes, skates and shoulder pads, among others.

The materials included in the tax-exempt sales period are: school supplies, art and music supplies, retail purchases of instructional school supplies, and computer storage media, including discs, compact discs and flash drives.

Other school materials included in the tax-exempt sales period are folders, school bags, calculators, adhesive tape, chalk, compasses, crayons, erasers, binders, expandable accordion folders, plastic and manila envelopes, glu, adhesives, markers, index cards and boxes for storing them, lunch boxes, loose-leaf paper, lined paper for spiral notebooks, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, cardboard and construction paper, pencil boxes and other material boxes, pencil sharpeners, pencils, pens, protractors, rulers, and scissors.

As for art and music materials, these are typically used in art or music courses or as reference material for learning a subject. They include clay, paints including acrylic, tempera, and oil paints, brushes, drawing pads and sketchbooks, watercolors, musical instruments, maps, and reference globes.

All printed and electronic books are tax-free throughout the year. This exemption applies to both the purchase and rental of books. Printed books are publications that are edited once or at intervals, while electronic books, also known as e-books are the digital version of a printed book.

Retail purchased notebooks, regardless of their size, are also tax-free throughout the year.

Generally, purchases made through layaway plans, with vouchers (rain checks), by mail, phone, email, internet or gift certificates and cards qualify for the sales tax exemption when payment and delivery occur within the dates established in the circular letter.

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

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