Tax free holiday covers severe weather items

Published 1:12 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Governor Bentley signed into law Thursday a bill that will create a sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items.

The tax holiday was recommended by the Tornado Recovery Action Council—appointed by the governor after the April 2011 tornadoes—as a way to help prepare the state for severe weather in the future.

“The bottom line is this sales tax holiday can help save lives. We want to encourage people to stock up on supplies that will help them safely weather a storm and its aftermath,” Bentley said. “Alabama is no stranger to severe storms. Whether it’s a tornado, a hurricane, or even an ice storm, we must all be prepared for whenever severe weather strikes. I commend members of the Legislature for passing this extremely important bill.”

Under the new law, items related to severe weather preparedness will be exempt from state sales and use taxes over a designated weekend. Counties and municipalities will have the option to participate by removing their own local sales and use taxes from the items.

This year, the sales tax holiday will begin Friday, July 6 at 12:01 a.m. and continue through midnight on Sunday, July 8.

Beginning in 2013, however, the tax holiday will be held during the last full weekend of February, in close proximity to the annual Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Items must be $60 or less, except for generators, which are covered as long as they cost $1,000 or less. Items covered by the legislation 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