Generators, Weather Radios Among the Supplies You Can Buy During Tax-Free Weekend

First aid kits are tax-free this weekend, but personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies are taxable

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After the February winter disaster, some North Texans may consider investing in a portable generator. It’s one of the items you can buy without paying the sales tax this weekend.

The 2021 Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 24, and ends at midnight on Monday, April 26.

According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, customers can get the tax savings even if the item is delivered after the exemption period as long as the customer pays for the item and the seller accepts the order.

There are price limits for items. The comptroller does not limit the number of qualifying items you can purchase, tax-free.

Here’s a list of emergency preparation supplies that qualify for the tax holiday:

Less Than $75

  • Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6-volt or 9-volt)
  • Can openers - nonelectric
  • Coolers and ice chests for food storage – nonelectric
  • First aid kits
  • Fuel containers
  • Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
  • Hatchets and axes
  • Ice products - reusable and artificial
  • Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers
  • Portable self-powered radios, including two-way and weather band radios
  • Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Tarps and other plastic sheeting

Less Than $300

  • Hurricane shutters
  • Emergency ladders

Less Than $3,000

  • Portable generators

Things Not Included in the Tax-Free Holiday

  • Medical masks and face masks
  • Cleaning supplies, such as disinfectants and bleach wipes
  • Gloves, including leather, fabric, latex and types used in health care
  • Toilet paper
  • Batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles
  • Camping stoves
  • Camping supplies
  • Chainsaws
  • Plywood
  • Extension ladders
  • Stepladders
  • Tents
  • Repair or replacement parts for emergency preparation supplies
  • Services performed on, or related to, emergency preparation supplies

Additional Charges Affect Purchase Price

Keep in mind, delivery or shipping and handling charges are included in the sales price.

“If you buy an emergency ladder for $300 or $299.99, you've got to also consider the delivery charge and the shipping and handling. So, if the whole price comes out over $300 dollars, then you no longer qualify for the tax-exempt status of that item,” explained Kevin Lyons, spokesperson for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

What to do if you're charged the sales tax by mistake

This tax holiday has been around since 2016, but it’s not as well-known as the big, back-to-school sales tax holiday. Lyons explained that if you are charged sales tax in error, the comptroller wants you to ask the store for a refund first. If that doesn’t work, you can file a claim with the comptroller.

Camping stoves, tents, masks are not tax-free

Medical masks, face masks, cleaning supplies, camping supplies, batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles do not qualify for the sales tax holiday. You can find a full list here.

Several over-the-counter items like hand sanitizer and wipes are always exempt from sales tax if they are labeled with an FDA “Drug Facts” panel.

This weekend, emergency preparation items can be bought tax-free across the state as part of the annual Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday.

For more information, contact us at Tax Help, or call 1-800-252-5555.

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