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Alabama severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday, February 2018

  • Jan 17, 2018 | Gail Cole

 Cell phone chargers are exempt from Alabama sales tax during the upcoming severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday.

Every February, Alabama provides a sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness. In 2018, the tax-free period begins at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Feb. 23, and concludes at midnight on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Sales tax holidays in any state tend to complicate sales tax compliance for retailers that sell qualifying items. This is particularly true in Alabama, where for the duration of the sales tax holiday, state sales tax does not apply to qualifying items, but local sales tax may apply.

Counties and municipalities in Alabama must opt in to the tax-free period by resolution or ordinance, which must be adopted at least 30 days prior to the event. The Alabama Department of Revenue keeps a list of participating jurisdictions, available here. As of this writing, more than 150 jurisdictions have not committed one way or the other.

Unlike local tax jurisdictions, retailers are required to participate: They may not charge state sales tax on items that are legally tax exempt during the sales tax holiday, and in jurisdictions that have opted to participate in the holiday, retailers must also exempt qualifying sales from local sales tax.

Exempt items

The following items qualify for the sales tax holiday provided they cost $60 or less per item:

  • Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, and reusable ice
  • Can opener (non-electric)
  • Cell batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, and 9-volt)
  • Cell phone batteries and chargers
  • Duct tape
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Food storage cooler (non-electric) or water storage container
  • Gas or diesel fuel tank or container
  • Ground anchor system
  • Portable self-powered or battery-powered two-way radio, weather band radio, or NOAA weather radio
  • Portable self-powered light source (e.g., emergency glow sticks, flashlights, lanterns)
  • Smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector
  • Tarpaulin, plastic drop cloths, plastic sheeting, or other flexible, waterproof sheeting

In addition, the following also qualifies: a single purchase of any portable generator and power cords used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage, provided it has a sales price of $1,000 or less.

Additional information is available from the Alabama Department of Revenue. To learn more about tax automation can facilitate sales and use tax compliance in Alabama, check out avalara.com/sales-tax-suite.

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.