New tax-free weekend aimed at emergency supplies

FILE - Batteries (KXAN Photo)
FILE - Batteries (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Most Texans are familiar with the Tax-Free Weekend that happens a few weeks before school starts, but did you know there’s a new sales tax holiday for items that can help you prepare for emergencies and severe weather?

New this year, Texans will be able to stock-up on emergency preparation supplies and not have to pay taxes on the items the weekend of April 23-25. The bill for the sales tax exemption was passed during last year’s legislative session.

Texas’ Comptroller Glenn Hegar says this new tax holiday will allow residents to prepare before disaster strikes. “The severe weather, fire and flooding we had last year provided a stark reminder that Texans should be prepared for any emergency,” Hegar says. “This tax holiday allows people to save money while ensuring they have the supplies they need if disaster strikes.”

“We have two end caps full of batteries but we did order a lot more in preparation,” said Ace Hardware store manager Cary Palumbo as he walked the store in Wimberley. For the past year, Wimberley residents have been recovering after a massive flood swept through their small town. Trees remain pushed over on the river beds and homes are still being built. Wimberley resident Erin Cudd saw the effects of severe weather just this past week. “It almost sounded like a freight train,” Cudd said.

Tuesday night, wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour tore through her property uprooting more than a dozen trees and destroying a shed. “I didn’t realize the damage that weather can cause, especially when it is unexpected. Making sure you have the right items that you need to be prepared for anytime that weather gets bad is just so important.” That’s exactly what this sales tax weekend is all about.

First aid kits, hatchets and fuel containers are just a few items on the list, and in a time when people are still trying to rebuild, a tax cut is always welcomed. “I think everyone needs a little bit of help,” said Cudd.

The items that can be purchased tax-free are:

Less than $3000

  • Portable generators

Less than $300

  • Hurricane shutters
  • Emergency ladders

Less than $75

  • Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt)
  • First aid kits
  • Fuel containers
  • Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
  • Hatchets
  • Axes
  • Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers
  • Nonelectric coolers and ice chests for food storage
  • Nonelectric can openers
  • Portable self-powered light sources (hand cranked flashlights)
  • Portable self-powered radios, including two-way and weather band radios
  • Reusable and artificial ice products
  • Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Tarps and other plastic sheeting

Purchases that do not qualify include:

  • Batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles;
  • Camping stoves and camping supplies; and
  • Chainsaws

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