Emergency supplies tax free this weekend

It's a good time to get prepared for the worst. This weekend, you can get many of your emergency supplies tax free. Stores across Central Texas like Academy Sports and Outdoors are getting ready to help Austinites be prepared for the worst.

Sam Burgess is a store director for an Austin location, “We have of course the most important item is the weather radio,  which of course any kind of severe weather you can turn that on and be listening and it will tell you exactly what's going on. Flashlights, (and) all the essentials you can think of if you're out in a storm and you need to be protected," he said.

Many may not be familiar with the emergency supply tax free weekend, it's fairly new to Texas, passing legislature in 2015. But it is similar to the back to school tax free weekend in August, just geared toward helping residents get prepared before emergencies happen.

Certain emergency supply items will be tax free from 12:01 Saturday to midnight on Monday.

Chris Bryan is a spokesperson for the Texas Comptroller’s Office, “Anyone who's lived through spring in Central Texas knows that the weather is anything but predictable. Now is the time to get those supplies, be prepared, and not wait until that disaster happens," he said.

From portable generators, emergency ladders, hurricane shutters down to the basics of first aid kits and smoke detectors qualifying items will be exempt from state and local taxes. "If it's time to top off your emergency supply kit or just get those types of things that every family should have around their home like a fire extinguisher, smoke detector or battery powered radio, things like that,” Bryan said.

Stores across Texas and even some online are participating in the holiday which Burgess said is an easy process. "We have signage, we have this display as soon as you walk in the store that has the items on it. These items are in our system, they will automatically ring up tax free," he said it’s all about the community and being ready for emergencies, “Of course as we all know we have had times where we have had severe weather and it just gets people prepared and so we don't have any issues going on in the city everybody can be safe and we want everybody to be safe,” he said.

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
    • Axes
    • Batteries, single or multi-pack (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
    • Hatchets
    • 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

These supplies do not qualify for tax exemption:

  • Batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles
  • Camping stoves
  • Camping supplies
  • Chainsaws
  • Plywood
  • Extension ladders
  • Stepladders
  • Tents
  • 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.

For example, you purchase a rescue ladder for $299 with a $10 delivery charge, for a total sales price of $309. Because the total sales price of the ladder is more than $300, tax is due on the $309 sales price.

For more information, you can click here.

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