Severe weather tax holiday kicks off today

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2013

Today begins the state’s sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items.

The tax holiday gives shoppers a unique opportunity to purchase certain preparedness supplies free of Alabama’s 4 percent sales or use tax. Almost 190 city and county governments – including those in Covington County – also have agreed to participate by waiving their sales tax, which means as much as 10 percent savings for consumers in some areas of the state.

“People need to take this opportunity to stock up on the supplies they’ll need before, during and after severe weather,” Gov. Robert Bentley said.  “From NOAA weather radios, to first aid kits and generators, these supplies can help you and your family stay safe. Alabama is vulnerable to several different forms of severe weather. Take the time now to plan ahead. If you wait until the storm strikes, it’s often too late.”

Alabama is one of three states with a severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday. Louisiana and Virginia hold their emergency preparedness sales tax holidays in May.

Locally, the sales tax holiday began at midnight and will continue through Sunday.

As part of the holiday, items related to severe weather preparedness will be exempted from state sales and use taxes.

Items covered by the state sales tax holiday include:

• Several types of batteries, including cell phone batteries and chargers

• Battery-powered radios

• NOAA weather radios

• Flashlights, lanterns and emergency glow sticks

• First aid kits

• Duct tape

• Plywood, window film or other materials, specifically designed to protect window openings

• Portable generators

• Gas or diesel fuel containers

• Tarpaulins and plastic sheeting

• Any non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container

• Non-electric can openers

• Any artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, or reusable ice

• Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors

• Ground anchor systems such as cords or rope or tie-down kits

The covered items must cost $60 or less, except for generators, which are covered as long as they cost $1,000 or less.

The sales tax holiday is being held at the conclusion of Severe Weather Awareness week.

“Alabamians have a unique opportunity with the state sales tax holiday to really save money on items that may save them in a future storm,” said Covington County Emergency Management Agency Director Susan Harris. “It is imperative that people use this awareness week and tax-free weekend to be prepared for all hazards, which could strike at any time of year.”