Volume 3 Number 21
May 22, 2006

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HURRICANE TAX HOLIDAY IS UNDER WAY

It is time to get ready for hurricane season and, now through June 1 when the season begins, you can buy many of the supplies you need tax free.

The Legislature implemented the 12-day Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday to encourage Floridians to stock up on hurricane supplies such as batteries, flashlights, generators and storm shutters.  The holiday is projected to save Floridians an estimated $41 million during the holiday. 

“It is imperative that homeowners finalize their preparations for what is predicted to be another active storm season,” said Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer.  “The more you prepare now, the better protected your home and family will be if a storm affects your community.”

Florida has been devastated by eight hurricanes in the past two years that left $30 billion worth of damage.  This year, forecasters predict as many as 15 named storms with possibly six reaching category 3 or higher, but a recent Mason-Dixon poll of coastal residents indicates Floridians may not be prepared.

The poll revealed that 60 percent of coastal residents do not have a family disaster place in place, and more than two-thirds of those residents do not have hurricane survival kits. Even more staggering, pollsters said, is that 83 percent of coastal residents have not taken steps to make their homes stronger.

”Many Floridians will be motivated by memories of the past two years and take steps to better prepare,” Gallagher said.   “For others, perhaps the hurricane tax holiday will provide the incentive to take the upcoming hurricane season more seriously.”

For more information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit the department’s website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com and click on the “Hurricane 2006” button on the right.

There are some price limitations, but items that qualify for the tax exemption include:

  • Blue ice or items sold as artificial ice.
  • Portable self-powered light sources: battery-powered flashlights, battery-powered lanterns, gas-powered lanterns (including propane, kerosene, lamp oil, or similar fuel), Tiki-type torches and candles (which should be used sparingly in a storm)
  • Gas or diesel fuel container (including LP gas and kerosene containers)
  • Batteries, including rechargeable (listed sizes only) - AAA-cell, AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt (excluding automobile and boat batteries), 9-volt (excluding automobile and boat batteries)
  • Coolers (food-storage; non-electrical)
  • Ice chests (food-storage; non-electrical)
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Radios (self-powered or battery-powered), two-way radios (self-powered or battery-powered)l weather band radios (self-powered or battery-powered)
  • Tarpaulins (tarps) Visqueen, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible waterproof sheeting
  • Ground anchor systems: tie-down kits (items that are advertised or normally sold as a tie-down or anchoring kit), Bungee cords, Ratchet straps
  • Cell phone batteries
  • Carbon monoxide detectors:  
  • Storm shutter devices (defined as materials and products specifically manufactured, rated and marketed for the purpose of preventing window damage from storms)
  • Portable generators that will be used to provide light, communications or to preserve perishable food in the event of a power outage.
  • Any package consisting of two or more of the previously listed qualifying hurricane-preparedness items sold for $75 or less will qualify for the exemption. Any package consisting of one or more of the previously listed hurricane-preparedness items and at least one other item that is otherwise tax-exempt and the package is sold for $75 or less will qualify for the exemption.