Storm supply tax holiday begins


Published: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

The state is offering residents some wallet relief by approving the third annual sales tax holiday for hurricane preparedness to get Floridians ready for the 2007 hurricane season.

Facts

Tax-exempt items

Here are some of the items covered in the sales tax holiday. For a complete list, go to Myflorida sales tax holiday.

  • Flashlights and self-powered light sources ($20 or less)
  • Gas or diesel fuel containers ($25 or less)
  • Batteries ($30 or less - AAA, AA, C and D cell 6- and 9-volt batteries)
  • Nonelectric food storage coolers ($30 or less)
  • Flexible waterproof sheeting (tarps) ($50 or less)
  • Portable radios ($75 or less)
  • Carbon monoxide detectors ($75 or less)
  • Storm shutter devices ($200 or less)
  • Portable generators ($1,000 or less)

"Experts predict that we will have an active hurricane season," said Craig Fugate, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management in a news release. "Thanks to the Florida Legislature, Floridians have an excellent opportunity to stock up on disaster-supply items and save money."

Residents can begin saving a few dollars on their hurricane supplies from today through June 12.

During the 12-day period, no sales tax can be charged on more than 30 specific items related to storm preparedness. Tax-exempt items include flashlights and self-powered light sources, batteries, portable generators and storm shutter devices. The normal state sales tax is 6 percent.

"It gives people an incentive to purchase the items that they need to prepare for the hurricane season, especially big-ticket items like a generator," said David Donnelly, emergency management chief for Alachua County.

The only rule is that any approved supplies that exceed the allowable price set by the state's list will be taxed.

Local home-improvement retailers are preparing for the sales tax holiday by stocking up on the tax-exempt merchandise and displaying it where easily visible and accessible.

"Basically, we have a lot of additional merchandise that is going to cater to the items under the list; we want to help make shopping easier for our customers," said Tom Bragdon, operations manager at the Lowe's on Archer Road.

The store will be staffed so that there are enough employees available to answer questions and assist customers, he said.

Some stores have scheduled how-to clinics in June that give residents demonstrations on such things as shutter installation, proper use of generators and how to clean up after a storm.

They also have how-to videos and information guides on their Web sites.

Rhonda Briggs, assistant manager at the Home Depot on 7107 NW 4th Blvd., said the store has a "How to Prepare for a Hurricane" clinic scheduled every Saturday in June from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The clinic is conducted in collaboration with the American Red Cross to prepare families and homes.

The tax-exemption period could cause crammed aisles and long lines at the register, so shoppers should take a shopping list, avoid peak hours and be patient.

Briggs said weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and weekends are the busiest times at the store.

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