Master the Disaster: Tax Free Holiday

By Suzanne Wiley, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

Have you given up shopping for the kiddos during the August tax-free weekend in fear of being trampled by the mob scrambling to pick up the latest Nikes, Jordan’s and skinny jeans? Well, a new tax-free ‘holiday’ is being introduced this year in Texas, and it’s one that just might save your life. Literally.

Approved last year, April 23 through the 25, Texans will be able to purchase emergency preparedness supplies tax-free. SB 904 not only helps Texans prepare for the worst weather, but also brings awareness of the importance of preparing for emergencies—weather-related or not.

Texas Comptroller, Glenn Hegar says, “The severe weather, fire and flooding we had last year provided a stark reminder that Texans should be prepared for any emergency. This tax holiday allows people to save money while ensuring they have the supplies they need if disaster strikes.”

Preparedness is what we at the Red Cross pride ourselves on. As experts in preparing for and responding to emergencies, we know just how important it is to Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Prepared for whatever comes.

Deadly tornados and flooding devastated parts of Texas in late 2015 and early 2016. The Super El Nino this year proved to us that it is not only spring we need to worry about. We cannot do anything to stop Mother Nature’s cycle, but we can certainly prepare for the inevitable severe storms North Texas will face.

Beginning on 12:01 a.m., Saturday, April 23, 2016, you can purchase emergency essentials like batteries, first aid kits, coolers, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, tarps, and hand-cranked emergency lighting and weather-alert radios tax-free.

You now no longer have an excuse to be unprepared when disaster strikes! For a comprehensive list of what you should put on your preparedness purchasing list, click here. If you like the visuals, check out the videos below:

Basic Disaster Kit:

Digital Disaster Kit:

Below is the complete list of items that will be tax exempt during the holiday. (From the State Comptroller’s office)

Less than $3000

  • Portable generators

Less than $300

  • Hurricane shutters
  • Emergency ladders

Less than $75

    • Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt)
    • 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
    • Nonelectric can openers
    • Portable self-powered light sources (hand cranked flashlights)
    • Portable self-powered radios, including two-way and weather band radios
    • Reusable and artificial ice products
    • Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Tarps and other plastic sheeting

These supplies do not qualify for tax exemption:

  • 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

To purchase pre-made emergency kits, visit the Red Cross Store online.

Happy Tax Free Emergency Preparedness Supplies Holiday! We hope you and your family have fun shopping and will be Red Cross Ready the next time disaster strikes.


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