SAN ANTONIO – Remember when the power went out during the February freeze and you wished you had lanterns, more batteries and even a portable generator. Now is your chance to prepare for the next emergency and save money, too.
Saturday through Monday, the state is waiving sales tax on a long list of supplies that can be vital when a natural disaster strikes.
“After the 2020 we had, and 2021, I don’t think you can be over-prepared for this stuff, " said Louis Tuttle, with The Home Depot in Windcrest.
Spring storms can bring lightning, hail, heavy rains and power outages. So it can be an excellent time to stock up on batteries. There are no quantity limits, but there are price ceilings on certain items.
Portable generators, which were in hot demand during the deep freeze, are exempt from sales tax as long as they cost less than $3,000.
When the power goes out, an ice chest or cooler can come in handy to prevent food spoilage. Coolers priced less than $75 are also tax-free.
Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are on the list, as well as certain escape ladders, which can be lifesavers in two-story homes.
Communications are vital in an emergency, so cell phone chargers and battery radios are also on the list.
The tax break applies to sales in-store and online. If there are shipping charges, those are included as part of the price of the item.
These emergency preparation supplies qualify for tax exemption if purchased for a sales price:
- Less than $3000
- 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
Note: 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 U.S. 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 health care
- 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