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Three-day storm supply sales tax holiday starts Friday


Date: May 31, 2017
Source: Florida Today
Author:  Dave Berman


Planning ahead for hurricane season could save you a little money.

From 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Florida will not charge sales taxon certain emergency preparedness supplies.

More than a dozen types of supplies — as small as reusable ice packs and as large as portable generators — are covered by what's officially being called the "2017 disaster preparedness sales tax holiday."

The tax holiday was approved by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott as part of House Bill 7109, which includes what the governor said wasa $180 million package of tax cuts.

This weekend's tax holiday accounts for $4.5 million of that amount.

In a statement, Florida Department of Revenue Executive Director Leon Biegalski said the disaster preparedness sales tax holiday presents "an opportunity for Floridians to purchase supplies in preparation for a variety of storm-related activity."

"From powerful thunderstorms and tornadoes, to tropical storms and hurricanes, Florida experiences a range of potentially dangerous weather throughout summer and fall,"Biegalski said.

The sales tax holiday covers both Florida's 6 percent sales tax and Brevard County's two temporary 0.5 percent special sales taxes — one for school infrastructure and the other for projects to restore the health of the Indian River Lagoon.

Separately, Florida will have a back-to-schoolsales tax holiday on Aug. 4, 5 and 6, in which the savings for consumers is expected to total $33.4 million.

This is the first time Florida has specifically had a "disaster preparedness sales tax holiday," according to the Florida Department of Revenue. But it has had similar "hurricane preparedness sales tax holidays" four previous times — in 2005 for 12 days, in 2006 for 12 days, in 2007 for 12 days and in 2014 for nine days.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

What's covered

Here's what's covered by the disaster preparedness sales tax holiday, along with the maximum price on what's covered by the tax:

Selling for $10 or less: Reusable ice packs.

Selling for $20 or less: Any portable self-powered light source (powered by battery, solar, hand-crank or gas). This includes flashlights, lanterns and candles, including candles with wicks.

Selling for $25 or less: Any gas or diesel fuel container, including liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene containers.

Selling for $30 or less:

• Batteries, including rechargeable batteries, in these sizes: AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt and 9-volt. Automobile and boat batteries are excluded.

• Coolers and ice chests for food-storage that are nonelectrical.

Selling for $50 or less:

• Tarpaulins/tarps.

• Visqueen, plastic sheeting, plastic dropcloths and other flexible waterproof sheeting.

• Ground anchor systems.

• Tie-down kits.

• Bungee cords.

• Ratchet straps.

• Radios powered by battery, solar or hand-crank, including regular AM/FM radios, two-way radios and weather-band radios.

Selling for $750 or less: Portable generators used to provide light or communications, or to preserve food in the event of a power outage.

The sales tax holiday does not apply to the rental or repair of any of the qualifying items.

Additionally, the sales tax holiday does not apply to sales that take place in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment or airport.

Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or dberman@floridatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bydaveberman and on Facebook at facebook.com/dave.berman.54.