How do you get tax free emergency preparedness supplies!? Check the list below to see if your state participates.
Saving from 6-12% on a box of bandaids doesn’t seem a lot, does it? Maybe you’ll save 10 cents, especially if you take advantage of all the dollar store has to offer. But you can put your bargaining power to good use by taking advantage of a tax-free weekend and stocking up on a first aid supplies and so much more!
In some states, a tax-free emergency preparedness weekend is a bonus! In Texas (as well as), the last weekend of April is just such a weekend. The state allows a certain portion of emergency preparedness items to be tax-free to help you save money.
Note: While I may link to one to show you what it looks like, the tax-free status is only for items purchased from a Texas retailer (for the Texas weekend, check your local tax laws for more information). So while you can order from Amazon.com, it has to be a business located in Texas as a 3rd party seller to be considered tax free according to the source at the Texas Comptroller’s office.
Tax-Free Emergency Preparedness Items in Texas
Group One – Under $3,000
- Portable Generator — a portable generator used to provide light or communications or to preserve perishable food in the event of a power outage.
Group Two – Under $300
- Hurrican Shutters or door — a storm protection device manufactured, rated, and marketed specifically to prevent damage to a glazed or non-glazed opening during a storm
- Emergency or rescue ladder — This would be something to hang from your 2nd floor to help you out during a fire. See this one for babies, too!
Group Three – Under $75
- Axe or hatchet – for creating firewood or escaping fires in the home.
- Batteries – from AAA to 9 volt, but does not include car, boat or solar.
- Can Opener – must be manual. And don’t cheap out on this one – get something hefty that is easy for anyone to use. Also consider purchasing some P-38 or P-51 can openers for your keychain or emergency bags.
- Fire Extinguisher – Read more: make sure to keep it charged and why you need more than one.
- First Aid Kit – self-contained kit – not the parts, but a full portable kit.
- Gas Can – any gas or diesel fuel storage can.
- Ground anchor system or tie-down kit
- Ice Chest / Cooler – for food storage during power outages. Caveat is that it must be non-electric – even if you have a generator.
- Ice Packs – reusable or artificial. Use ice packs to store around food to keep it frozen/cold during a power outage.
- Light – any portable light source such as flashlight, lanterns, candles, battery operated lanterns, etc. My favorites include this small flashlight, this portable, waterproof lantern and even this inflatable solar lantern.
- Mobile Phone Battery Charger – can be rechargeable or solar. This is our favorite charger as it has 5+ recharges on a phone, but you can also charge other electronic devices as well!
- Radio – portable, self-powered two-way radio or weather band radio.
- Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Tarps or other waterproof sheeting – to create shelter. They do not cover actual tents, but the parts to create a shelter
Items not qualifying for tax free status
- Auto/boat batteries
- Camping supplies
- Camping Tent
- Portable stoves
- Portable or step ladders
- Parts to repair emergency preparedness items
Other states that offer Emergency Preparedness Tax Free Holidays
- Alabama (last weekend in February)
Other ways to save during tax free weekends
If you live in a state that offers a tax free weekend for back to school, there are other emergency items you can stock up on! Be sure to check your states regulations on what qualifies as tax free.
- Clothing and/or footwear
- School supplies – here is how you can stock up on school supplies for emergencies.
With the “Back to School” sales, you can save on outerwear, shoes, t-shirts and more. Either build up the next sizes for your children, or double up for some important cold weather pieces.
•Read more: How to Dress for Extreme Weather
With the school supplies, stock up on items for record keeping (index cards and composition notebooks), food storage, binders to make Family Emergency Binders, extra pens pencils, paper and more!
Those states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia. Check your local comptroller/tax office to see if your state or municipality offers tax free holidays to help you build your emergency preparedness stockpile.
Louisiana and Mississippi even offer hunting tax free weekends for equipment and ammunition.
How to use those tax free savings
If you save a significant amount of money during these tax free holidays, here are some ideas on how to apply that money:
- Purchase more items
- Pay down debt
- Save towards long-term projects
Depending on your tax rate, and the price of the item you purchase, you may save a significant amount of money. Or, you may save just enough to pick up an extra fire extinguisher for free. However you do it, take advantage of the tax free time to stock up on some much needed equipment or clothing to help your family weather the storm.
While I can give you some general information, calling your local tax office is your best bet!