SAN ANTONIO – Every spring in Texas, the state offers a tax holiday for emergency supplies to help people prepare for events like hurricanes and violent spring storms.
This year, the event has a different tone for a few reasons. More people than usual may have emergency prepping on their mind given the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, this year’s tax-free event is happening at a time people have been asked to follow strict social distancing measures.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is urging people to make their purchases online, if possible, and to practice social distancing for in-store purchases.
“Unfortunately, strong spring storms, wildfires and the upcoming hurricane season will still threaten Texans in the months ahead, and so it’s important that homes and businesses have the supplies they need to face these emergencies,” Hegar said. “As this pandemic continues to spread, I want to remind all Texans this sales tax holiday applies to qualifying items they purchase online, from the safety of their homes. If visiting your local retailer to purchase items, please practice appropriate social distancing as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
The tax-free holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 25, and ends at midnight on Monday, April 27.
There is no limit on the number of items purchased, but there are price limits for individual items.
For example, generators that cost less than $3,000 are eligible for the tax freebie.
The list includes flashlights, batteries, lanterns and non-electric can openers -- things that come in handy when the power goes out.
Ice chests priced less than $75 are eligible, too.
These emergency preparation supplies qualify for tax exemption if purchased for a sales price:
Less than $3,000:
- Portable generators
Less than $300:
- Emergency ladders
- Hurricane shutters
Less than $75:
- Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt)
- Can openers - nonelectric
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Coolers and ice chests for food storage – nonelectric
- Fire extinguishers
- First aid kits
- Fuel containers
- Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
- Ice products - reusable and artificial
- Light sources - portable self-powered (including battery operated)
- Examples of items include: candles, flashlights and lanterns
- Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers
- Radios - portable self-powered (including battery operated) - includes two-way and weather band radios
- Smoke detectors
- Tarps and other plastic sheeting
Several over-the-counter self-care items, such as antibacterial hand sanitizer, soap, spray and wipes, are always exempt from sales tax if they are labeled with a “Drug Facts” panel in accordance with federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
These supplies do NOT qualify for tax exemption:
- Medical masks and face masks
- Cleaning supplies, such as disinfectants and bleach wipes
- Gloves, including leather, fabric, latex and types used in healthcare
- Toilet paper
- Batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles
- Camping stoves
- Camping supplies
- Extension ladders
- Repair or replacement parts for emergency preparation supplies
- Services performed on, or related to, emergency preparation supplies
Additional charges affect purchase price.
Delivery, shipping, handling and transportation charges are part of the sales price. If the emergency preparation supply being purchased is taxable, the delivery charge is also taxable. Consider these charges when determining whether an emergency preparation supply can be purchased tax free during the holiday.
Click here to read more about the Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday.
Here are some resources that can help you prepare for any emergency:
- Download the American Red Cross free emergency preparedness app by texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999