Emergency supplies are tax-free in Texas this weekend

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AUSTIN – This weekend, Texans have their annual chance to stock up on emergency preparedness supplies without having to pay sales tax.

The 2017 Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday runs April 22-24 in Texas and is expected to save shoppers an estimated $1.5 million in local and state sales taxes.

“Unfortunately, we can’t predict when the next fire, flood or tornado may strike,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a new release. “But we can be prepared, and this tax holiday helps Texans save money while stocking up for emergency situations before they happen.”

During the holiday, Texans can purchase emergency preparedness items tax free; and on top of that, there’s no limit on the quantity of approved items you’re allowed to buy.

It can get tricky, though, so you need to think about what you may need in an emergency situation and what tools you could use — because you can’t buy a chainsaw tax free, but you can buy a hatchet or an ax. You can’t buy plywood, but you can buy hurricane shutters (under $300). No to tents, yes to tarps.

If zombies can make it work during an apocalypse, so can we. Don’t mess with Texas.

Basic items exempt from sales tax April 22-24:
Batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 6 volt, 9 volt) under $75
Carbon monoxide detectors
Coolers and ice chests (non-electric)
Emergency ladders under $75
Fire extinguishers
First aid kits
Flashlights under $75
Fuel containers
Hurricane shutters under $300
Mobile telephone batteries and chargers
Non-electric can openers
Portable generators under $3,000
Radios that are self-powered, including two-way and weather band
Re-usable and artificial ice products
Smoke detectors
Tarps and plastic sheeting

Basic items NOT tax-free during the holiday:
Batteries for automobiles, boats, and other motorized vehicles
Camping stoves, tents, and other camping supplies
Extension ladders and stepladders
Repair or replacement parts for emergency supplies
Service to emergency preparation supplies

Here’s the complete list of items which are tax exempt during the 2017 Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday.

Another thing to consider is shipping & handling, transportation, and delivery charges are part of a product’s sales price, so if the purchased item is taxable, so are these charges. So if you buy an emergency ladder for $74 — $1 dollar under the tax free limit during the holiday — but there’s a $10 shipping & handling fee, your ladder price is $84. The ladder would therefore not qualify as tax free.

The Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday was approved by legislators and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015.

The 2017 holiday officially begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 22 and ends at midnight Monday, April 24.