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Texas: prepare for emergencies, save on sales tax

  • Apr 18, 2017 | Gail Cole

 It's good to be prepared.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to bring powerful storms to land; Global Weather Oscillations predicts it will be “the most dangerous in 12 years.” State officials want Texans to start preparing for the storm season that officially starts June 1, as well as other severe weather. To encourage them to do so, a sales tax holiday for emergency preparation supplies will be offered this weekend, from 12:01 a.m. April 22 to midnight April 24.

Supplies that can help Texans weather storms, fires, and floods include batteries, emergency ladders, hurricane shutters, and portable generators. Although there is no limit on the quantity one consumer can purchase, price restrictions do apply.

Tax exempt

  • Portable generators costing less than $3,000
  • Emergency ladders and hurricane shutters costing less than $300
  • The following supplies costing less than $75:
    • Axes and hatchets
    • Batteries (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 or 9 volt)
    • Can openers (nonelectric)
    • Carbon monoxide detectors
    • Coolers and ice chests for food storage
    • Fire extinguishers
    • First-aid kits
    • Fuel containers
    • Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
    • Ice products
    • Light sources
    • Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers
    • Radios (portable self-powered, two-way, and weather-band radios)
    • Smoke detectors
    • Tarps and other plastic sheeting


Not all items that could be used to weather storms qualify for the tax-free period. The following products are not tax exempt:

  • Batteries for cars, boats, and other motorized vehicles
  • Camping stoves and supplies
  • Chainsaws
  • Extension ladders
  • Plywood
  • Stepladders
  • Tents
  • Repair or replacement parts for emergency preparation supplies
  • Services performed on, or related to, emergency preparation supplies

Delivery charges

In Texas, charges for delivery, shipping, and transportation are considered part of the sales price. This means they’re taxable when the sale is taxable and exempt when the sale is exempt.

During the tax-free period, if delivery charges cause the price of an item to exceed the price restrictions, the sale is taxable. If the total price remains within the price limits, the exemption applies. For example: An extension ladder with a sales price of $299 is exempt. If a $10 delivery charge is added, for a total sales price of $309, the transaction is taxable. Additional information is available from the Texas Comptroller.

More than a dozen states are offering sales tax holidays in 2017. While they’re popular among consumers, they can complicate sales and use tax compliance for retailers selling affected goods. Tax automation software facilitates compliance for businesses of all sizes, making sales tax holidays less burdensome. Learn more.


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.