Be worry-free, tax-free: Get weekend discount on emergency gear


Not every item the National Weather Service recommends for basic emergency kits qualifies for tax exemption.

Just because you can use camping equipment in an emergency, it doesn’t mean it will be tax-free this weekend.

Central Texas’ severe weather season is already underway, but this weekend the state of Texas is making it easier for youto start prepping for a disaster. Starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday until midnight Monday, you can buy certain emergency supplies tax-free.

The National Weather Service has a recommended list of items for a basic emergency kit — but not all of those things will be tax-free. Here’s how it breaks down:

Basic emergency kit items (Tax-free)

The total cost of these items (including delivery charges) must be less than $75:

• AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt or 9-volt batteries

• Nonelectric can openers

• Fire extinguisher

• First-aid kits

• Flashlights, lanterns, candles

• Battery-powered radio or self-powered weather radio

• Plastic sheeting

Basic emergency kit items (NOT tax-free)

• Bottled water

• Nonperishable food

• Disinfectant wipes

• Toilet paper and bags with ties for personal sanitation

• Paper and pen or pencil

• Sleeping bags or blankets

• Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)

• Personal hygiene items (travel-size deodorant, cotton swabs, feminine items, etc.)

• Signal whistles

• Duct tape

• Baby formula and diapers

• Extra pet food

• Dust masks to help filter the air

• Rain gear

Other items eligible for tax exemption

These items (costing less than $75, unless otherwise stated) didn’t make the weather service’s list for basic supplies, but they’re also tax-exempt this weekend:

• Portable generators (costing less than $3,000)

• Emergency ladders (costing less than $300)

• Axes, hatchets

• Carbon monoxide detectors

• Coolers, nonelectric ice chests

• Fuel containers

• Ground anchor systems, tie-down kits

• Mobile phone batteries and chargers

• Smoke detectors

NOT tax-free nonemergency items

The tax exemptions don’t apply to everything that could be used in an emergency situation. You’ll still pay taxes on:

• Batteries for motorized vehicles

• Camp stoves

• Camping supplies

• Chainsaws

• Plywood

• Extension ladders

• Stepladders

• Tents

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