This hurricane season is a lot different.
We are already in an ongoing crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic. People have stocked up on toilet paper and other items, even as state regulations start to relax. But why not be prepared for another disaster, one that threatens the state every summer?
Monday is the start of hurricane season, going all the way until Nov. 30. The Florida Legislature passed a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday to not only get you prepared, but also save you some cash along the way.
The tax holiday begins today and runs through Thursday, June 4, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.
During this period, certain items related to disaster preparedness, from reusable ice packs to portable generators, are exempt from sales tax.
The state’s general sales tax rate is 6%, according to the Florida Department of Revenue. In Charlotte and Sarasota counties, the sales tax rate is 7%. It is 7.5% in DeSoto County.
“We ask that residents do as much as they can to prepare for disasters,” said Charlotte County’s Emergency Management Director Patrick Fuller. “The sales tax holiday gives residents the opportunity to pay less for the supplies that they would need should we receive impacts from a tropical storm or hurricane.”
Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season this year, with 16 named storms, eight anticipated to become hurricanes and four to be a Category 3 or higher.
“We urge our residents to approach each hurricane season in the same manner regardless of forecast,” Fuller said. “Know your risk, make a plan, build a disaster kit, know where you and your family will evacuate if directed to do so (while viewing public shelters as your last option) and stay informed.”
“Natural disasters can cause hardship and challenges for Floridians,” said Jim Zingale, the executive director of the Florida Department of Revenue. “I hope consumers will use the disaster preparedness sales tax holiday to gather supplies. It’s always a good idea to be prepared before disaster strikes.”
Items only qualify for tax exemption if they sell for the amount, or less, determined by the Florida Department of Revenue listed below. Here’s what you can save on.
$10 or less
Reusable ice and ice packs
$20 or less
Any portable, self-powered light source, such as candles, flashlights and lanterns. Self-powered can mean by battery, solar, hand-crank or gas.
$25 or less
Any gas or diesel fuel container, including LP gas and kerosene containers.
$30 or less
These size batteries, including rechargeable batteries:
Excludes automobile and boat batteries.
Also coolers, ice chests and other non-electrical items used for food storage.
$50 or less
Ground anchor systems
Radios (two-way or weather band; powered by battery, solar or hand-crank)
Visqueen, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths and other flexible waterproof sheeting
$750 or less