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May 2013 Hurricane Sales Tax Holidays

  • May 3, 2013 | Gail Cole

 It's worth preparing.

There aren't many perks to natural disasters, but a handful of states try to alleviate damage with a sales tax holiday for emergency items. This year, Louisiana's Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26. Virginia's Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness Equipment Sales Tax Holiday runs May 25 through May 31. Alabama offered one in February.


On May 25 and 26, many "storm prep" items in the Pelican State will be exempt from Louisiana state sales tax. Pursuant to La. R.S. 47:305.58, these items include, but are not limited to:

  • Batteries;
  • Carbon monoxide detectors;
  • Cellular phone batteries, chargers;
  • Food storage coolers (non-electric)
  • Portable self-powered radios, two-way radios, weather-band radios;
  • Self-powered light sources (flashlights, candles);
  • Storm shutters;
  • Tie-down kits; and
  • Waterproof sheeting.

It should be noted that the exemption applies only to "the first $1,500 of the sales price" of each of the above items. That's still a lot of batteries.

Local sales and use taxes are not affected by the sales tax holiday unless localities opt to adopt it.


In the Old Dominion State, a following items are eligible for the sales and use tax holiday May 25-31, provided they have a sales price of $60 or less. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Artificial ice;
  • Batteries;
  • Duct tape;
  • First aid kits;
  • Portable self-powered light sources;
  • Portable self-powered radios, two-way radios, weather band radios;
  • Tarpaulins; and
  • Water storage containers.

The following items are eligible for the sales tax holiday provided they have a sales price of $1000 or less:

  • Inverters and inverter power cables; and
  • Portable generators and generator power cords.

Virginia businesses may opt to "absorb the tax" on non-eligible items; however, they remain liable for any absorbed taxes.

The Virginia Tax Commission provides extensive guidelines and rules regarding the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday--it's worth a read.

Conditions for Exemption:

Both Virginia and Louisiana detail certain conditions for exemption that apply during the sales tax holiday. These include the following situations:

  • Purchases of eligible items;
  • Placing eligible items on layaway;
  • Making final payment of layaway items; and

Ordering eligible items for immediate delivery (even if the delivery must be delayed, so long as customer did not request a delayed delivery).

2013: A Stormy Season

According to the National Hurricane Center, the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane season is June 1, 2013. It concludes November 30. Experts predict this year's storm season will have "enhanced activity," with "an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean." Atmospheric scientists at Colorado State University warn coastal residents to prepare, because "it only take one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them."

How does your business prepare for sales tax holidays?

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photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via photopin cc

Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.