With severe weather events becoming all too common across the Southeast, the state of Alabama is offering its second tax-free holiday to encourage the purchase of items needed during weather emergencies.
The holiday runs from 12:01 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, until midnight Sunday, Feb. 24. The February dates were chosen to give residents time to prepare before severe weather strikes. In Alabama, tornado season is from March to August, and hurricane season is from June to November.
“The severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday will allow residents to purchase items they may need to prepare for a storm, as well as items they may need if there is a power outage following the storm,” said Yasamie August, external affairs director for Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency.
The tax-free holiday applies to Alabama’s state sales tax; however, some counties and municipalities may also exempt local taxes.
Qualified purchases include batteries, cell phone chargers, portable self-powered or battery-powered radios, two-way radios, weather radios, portable self-powered light sources, tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, ground anchor systems, duct tape, plywood, window film, materials to protect window coverings, non-electric food storage coolers, water storage containers, non-electric can openers, artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, reusable ice, self-contained first aid kits, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and gas or diesel fuel tanks or containers. Each of the items listed must have a sales price of $60 or less.
Portable generators and power cords that provide light or communications, or preserve food in the event of a power outage, are also tax-exempt during the holiday. These items must cost $1,000 or less.
“We can never stress enough the importance of Alabama residents being prepared for severe weather, whether it is an ice storm, tornado, hurricane or an earthquake,” August said. “In Alabama, we face the threat of severe weather consistently, so being prepared is critical.”
August noted the importance for families to participate in severe weather exercises and drills, just like state agencies hold drills for these emergencies.
“In addition to knowing and practicing your plan of action, citizens must have a method to receive severe weather alerts,” August said. “We continually encourage families to have a NOAA weather radio, but it’s also important to make sure the radio is programmed properly and is equipped with back-up batteries in the event of a power outage. For people who can’t acquire a radio, there are several weather alerts for mobile phones that will notify someone of pending severe weather.”
For more information on Alabama’s sales-tax holiday for severe weather preparedness, including counties and municipalities participating, visit http://www.revenue.alabama.gov/salestax/WPSalesTaxHol.cfm.