COLLEGE STATION – While many people in Texas are aware of the summer sales tax holiday for back-to-school purchases, far fewer are aware there is also a sales tax holiday April 23-25 for emergency preparedness supplies, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
“Through action by the Texas legislature, the state comptroller’s office allows Texans to purchase certain emergency preparation supplies tax-free during this year’s Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday,” said Joyce Cavanagh, AgriLife Extension specialist with family development and resource management in College Station.
Cavanagh said this year’s sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. April 23 and ends at midnight April 25.
“There is no limit on the number of qualifying items you can purchase, and there is no need for an exemption certificate in order to claim the exemption,” she said. “However, there are restrictions in terms of the amount of money you are allowed to spend on specific items and whether there are additional charges that may affect the overall purchase price.”
According to the website for Glenn Hegar, the state’s comptroller of public accounts, http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_1017.html, emergency preparation supplies that qualify for tax exemption if purchased for less than a specific price include:
— Portable generators, if purchased for less than $3,000.
— Hurricane shutters and emergency ladders, if purchased for less than $300.
— Batteries, single or multipack of various sizes, 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, non-electric can openers, portable self-powered light sources, portable self-powered radios, reusable and artificial ice products, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors, tarps and other plastic sheeting, if purchased for less than $75.
Among the supplies that do not qualify for exemption are automobile and boat batteries, camping stoves and supplies, chainsaws, plywood, extension and step ladders, tents, repair or replacement parts for emergency preparation supplies and services performed on or related to emergency preparation supplies.
“There may also be additional charges that may be included in the purchase price of qualifying items that will affect the final cost of the item or items and make them taxable by putting them over the maximum allowed tax-free amount,” Cavanagh said. “Added costs such as shipping and handling or transportation and delivery are considered part of the sales price.”
According to the guidelines established for this tax-free holiday, if an emergency preparation supply item is taxable, so is the delivery charge for that item, she explained.
“It’s important to know and take into account all charges when deciding whether or not an item will be truly tax free during this sales tax holiday,” Cavanagh said.