Texas temporarily exempts emergency supplies April 28–30

Texas temporarily exempts emergency supplies April 28–30

To encourage Texans to prepare for severe weather and other natural disasters, Texas now provides an annual tax-free period for emergency supplies. Between April 28 and 30, numerous items that can help people safely weather a storm will be exempt from Texas sales tax.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar encourages Texans to take advantage of the sales tax holiday and take emergency preparation seriously: “The severe weather we had last year — particularly Hurricane Harvey — was a stark reminder that Texans should be prepared for emergencies at all times. This tax holiday allows people to save money while ensuring they have the supplies they need before an emergency situation occurs.”


The exemption applies to numerous items within these general categories:

  • Batteries, flashlights, fuel containers, and miscellaneous supplies with a sales price of less than $75
  • Hurricane shutters and emergency ladders with a sales price of less than $300
  • Portable generators with a sales price of less than $3,000                                                                                                           


However, not all items that could be useful during severe weather qualify for the exemption. Products that remain taxable during the tax-free period include:

  • Automobile and boat batteries
  • Camping supplies (e.g., stoves, sleeping bags, tents)
  • Chainsaws
  • Extension ladders and stepladders
  • Plywood

Additional details can be found on the comptroller website.

Sales tax savings draw a crowd

According to the comptroller, Texans are likely to save a total of $1.5 million in sales tax next weekend. That means a lot of Texans will be purchasing a lot of qualifying items — and since many of them will be shopping specifically to take advantage of those savings, retailers need to be sure they get sales tax right.

In addition to knowing which items qualify for the exemption, sellers must also take into account other rules affecting sales tax. For example, every sales tax holiday typically has rules around how tax should or shouldn’t be applied to layaway sales, shipping and delivery charges, and more. This complicates sales tax compliance, since point-of-sale systems must be reprogrammed to account for the changes, and then changed back to the original settings.

All retailers that collect and remit sales tax in Texas are required to comply with the Emergency Preparedness Texas Sales Tax Holiday. Sellers that do business in multiple states are likely to encounter multiple tax-free periods. In 2018, more than 15 states are providing for more than 25 sales tax holidays. Learn more about them and how they can complicate sales and use tax compliance her­­e.

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