Hurricane Season

The Texas emergency supply tax holiday is this weekend. Experts say now is the time to prepare

Even though hurricane season doesn’t start until June, experts say it’s best to prepare early.

Michael Hagerty / Houston Public Media
A cart full of hurricane supplies at Southland Hardware.

Emergency supplies worth up to $3,000 are exempt from sales tax this weekend.

The emergency preparation supplies sales tax holiday starts Saturday at 12:01 a.m. and lasts through the weekend.

In a press release, Gov. Greg Abbott said now is the time to purchase supplies for hurricane season, which starts June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30.

“Hurricane season is approaching, so I encourage Texans across the state to prepare today for a safer tomorrow,” Abbott said.

The Texas comptroller’s office released a list of items that qualify for the sales tax exemption. There’s no limit on the number of items shoppers can purchase, and there’s no need to bring an exemption certificate to be exempt from the sales tax, the comptroller’s office said.

Emergency supplies must fit under three price point categories in order to qualify for the exemption. Items that need to be under $75 include batteries, fuel containers and flashlights, and items that need to be less than $300 to qualify include hurricane shutters and emergency ladders. Portable generators need to be $3,000 or less to qualify.

The sales tax holiday isn’t just for brick and mortar stores, according to Kevin Lyons, a public accounts spokesperson for the comptroller’s office — it also applies to online purchases. However, he said if a delivery charge tips a product over the maximum price point, then the buyer will have to pay the sales tax.

“That’s just something to think about when you decide whether or not to purchase something online,” he said.

Even though hurricane season doesn’t start until June, Kent Prochazka, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Houston/Galveston region, said it’s best to prepare early. He recommended having supplies available at all times and having an extra copy of important documents stored somewhere safe.

Scientists at Colorado State University are predicting an above average hurricane season this year with a potential increase in tropical storms. Prochazka said tropical storms can’t be predicted as far in advance as hurricanes, so Texans living along the coast might not always have the luxury of having a week to plan for an upcoming storm.

“Texas is prone to getting these tropical storms that form in what almost seems like a blink of an eye,” he said.

When it comes to emergency preparedness, Prochazka said rushing out to buy supplies right before a natural disaster hits is an error he’s made himself in the past. Those looking for last-minute supplies may instead find empty shelves.

“You don’t want to do that,” he said. “Don’t make my mistake. Make sure you’ve done this in advance.”

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