The three-day sales tax holiday for disaster preparedness begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 2, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 4.
Just in time for the start of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 7109 May 25, which includes two sales tax holidays – back-to-school (Aug. 4-6) and disaster-preparedness (June 2-4).
Hurricane season begins June 1.
The Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 2, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 4. During the three-days, qualifying items needed to help people prepare for disasters are exempt from sales tax.
Qualifying items include reusable ice packs selling for $10 or less, and any portable self-powered light source, such as flashlights, lanterns and candles selling for $20 or less. Lights may be powered by battery, solar, hand-crank or gas.
Gas or diesel fuel containers, including LP gas and kerosene containers selling for $25 or less will be exempt from taxes, as will batteries, including rechargeable batteries selling for $30 or less. Qualifying batteries include AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt and 9-volt. Automobile and boat batteries are not exempt from taxes.
Non-electrical coolers and ice chests selling for $30 or less also can be purchased tax-free.
A number of items selling for $50 or less are on the list, including tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths and other waterproof sheeting. In addition, ground anchor systems, tie-down kits, bungee cords and ratchet straps selling for less than $50 can be purchased tax free, as well as two-way and weather band radios powered by battery, solar or hand-crank.
Big ticket items, selling for $750 or less, that are tax-free include portable generators used to provide light or communications or to preserve food during a power outage.
Officials note that eligible light sources and radios quality for the exemption even though they may have electrical cords.
First-aid kits are always tax-free.
The Florida Retail Federation thanked the governor for signing the bill and praised the benefits.
“The three-day sales tax holiday for disaster preparedness will encourage both consumers and retailers to properly prepare for and purchase the supplies they need in the event or a hurricane or natural disasters,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley.
Pinellas County officials urged residents to review their hurricane kits and take advantage of the tax holiday to restock necessary supplies. For more information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency.
NOAA released its hurricane outlook May 25 with predictions of a high likelihood of an above-normal season. The message of the day was to prepare now before the season begins.