Puerto Rico’s new hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday

Update, May 26, 2022: The sales tax holiday will take place June 17 through 19, 2022.

To encourage residents to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, which is expected to be particularly harsh this year, Puerto Rico lawmakers have established a new annual sales tax holiday for hurricane preparedness supplies. The holiday will occur annually in late May, with exact dates to be determined by the Secretary of Treasury. Hurricane season in Puerto Rico runs June 1 through November 30.

Should the Secretary of Treasury fail to announce the dates for the tax-free period by May 1, the law specifies that the sales tax holiday is to be held from 12:01 a.m. on the last Friday in May to the following Sunday at midnight.

Act 20-2022 exempts specified preparation items and equipment from sales and use tax. These include the following (translated from Spanish, as listed in the bill):

  • Cleaning and sanitizing products
  • Containers, cisterns, and tanks for fuel and water
  • Nonperishable food
  • Products for the repair and maintenance of generators and solar emergency kits
  • Rope
  • Storm shutters
  • Untreated wood panels
  • Water

The measure also exempts a variety of preparation equipment, including but not limited to:

  • Axes and machetes
  • Batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, 9-volt)
  • Hurricane shutters
  • Lamps (powered by batteries or other alternative energy sources), flashlights, and candles
  • Portable generators priced $3,000 or less
  • Portable radios (battery operated), two-way radios, and weather-band radios
  • Propane gas
  • Solar emergency kits
  • Tarpaulins (flexible and waterproof)

Additional eligible items are listed in the text of the bill, along with guidance on layaway sales, rain checks, record-keeping requirements, and more. 

The Puerto Rico Treasury Department (Departamento de Hacienda) is tasked with providing the dates for 2022 and providing additional guidance. On May 25, 2022, it issued a press release announcing a "change of date" for the tax-free period, in response to merchants' requests for more time. The sales tax holiday will run June 17 through June 19, 2022.

Numerous states are providing one or more sales tax holidays in 2022. See our guide to state sales tax holidays in 2022 for more details.

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